While hospitals normally stick to their strict set of rules to ensure patients’ safety, doctors and nurses often bend the rules for patients who have reached the end of their lives, so that they can go as peacefully and as happily as possible.
This isn’t the first time 65-year-old Robert Gonzales has landed in the hospital, as the Vietnam veteran was shot and became paralyzed during the war, but now doctors fear it might be his last visit because of a series of life-threatening infections.
Despite becoming paralyzed in the war, Gonzalez continued to train and race stallions in Texas. “He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” wife Rosario said.
Gonzales was used to spending almost every day with the animals that he loved so much, but he hadn’t been able to see them during his 10-month stay at the hospital. Knowing his condition was getting worse, he told his family that the only thing left that he wanted was to see to see his beloved horses one last time, and the hospital was happy to help organize it.
“When we know that they’re at the end of life, we try to make them as comfortable as possible,”hospital spokesman Lupe Hernandez said.
Gonzales’ family brought a pair of horses named Ringo and Sugar on a 150-mile journey to the hospital, and immediately started kissing Gonzales’ face when they saw him. “He was aware of the horses being there and opened his eyes,” Hernandez said. “The horses were kissing him.”
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[Featured image credit: Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital]