The Heart and Soul of Medicine: Honoring Caregivers at Duke

Many believe caregivers are the heart and soul of medicine. Meet a few caregivers and patients who show us why.

Ben Hocutt

Ben Hocutt went from fighting for his life to helping save others. At age 12, Ben successfully battled a rare form of cancer at Duke Children’s. He returned to Duke many years later as a nurse and recently earned a master of science in nursing degree. His advanced degree will certainly help him be a better critical care nurse, but his time as a patient has also given him a unique perspective that allows him to better relate to and compassionately care for his patients.

“I like the interaction I get to have with patients when they’re at their most critical state. It takes a lot of skill and specialized knowledge to be a critical care nurse. Not everyone can do it, but I can’t imagine being in any other part of the hospital.” – Ben Hocutt

Read more about Ben and his journey from patient to caregiver.

Gary Jacob

In 2011, Gary Jacob and his family were devastated to learn he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a terminal illness. Three years later, when Gary was nearing the end of his life, the family found comfort in knowing his care team at Duke HomeCare & Hospice, including nurse practitioner, Liz Zechinati, went out of their way to accommodate Gary’s wishes to spend his final moments peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones.

“Everyone at Duke HomeCare & Hospice was so warm and personable. It felt like everybody was our best friend. (Liz) was so kind and easy to talk to. Gary loved her.” – Gary’s wife, Linda

Read more about Gary and his family's experience with the caregivers at Duke HomeCare & Hospice.

Michael Bentley

When Michael Bentley of Raleigh felt light-headed, he listened to his wife and headed to Duke Urgent Care. Physicians there immediately recognized that Bentley needed emergency surgery and had him taken by ambulance to Duke, where he underwent surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm. “Timing was everything,” says Duke vascular surgeon Leila Mureebe, MD. Bentley knows quick thinking and timely surgery are the reasons he’s alive today.

“I had a quick diagnosis, I got to the hospital in time, the ‘plumbers’ were available to fix me up, and post-op care was first class. If you’re going to be sick, Duke is the place to be.” – Michael Bentley

Read more about Michael and his caregiver.