Adventist Health Hanford Physicians and Staff Team Up for Wedding Miracle

Apr 7, 2023


When the mother of the bride falls and fractures a hip 30 hours before the wedding, you might think she’ll sadly have to miss the big event. After all, she would have to complete multiple pre-surgery tests and imaging scans and get insurance to sign off on approvals in record time. How would she find an orthopedic surgeon who was willing and available to repair her hip on such short notice, and could the hospital even fit her into the surgery schedule?

Then, even if she could have the surgery in time, there would be no way she could leave the hospital afterward and actually make it to a wedding. Aside from logistics and every detail needing to fall into place, there would be pain to manage and the risk of injuring the hip again.

It just doesn’t seem possible, thought Becky Prince, as she lay in an Adventist Health Hanford emergency room awaiting admission to the hospital. She felt devastated, like she was ruining her only child’s wedding, the March 4 event they had been planning together for months. A florist, Becky had crafted beautiful bouquets for the bride and maid of honor. And she loved the mother-of-the-bride dress and the boots she was planning to wear.

Peggy Silva, the hospital’s RN ER navigator for care transitions, felt Becky’s heartache as she prepared her for admission that afternoon. She listened to her story and began wondering if they could possibly find a way to a different ending.

Meanwhile, the bride-to-be, Adrienne Kelly, was having similar thoughts. As a student in a health care administration program, Adrienne understood the hurdles facing her mother, and yet she knew one thing for sure: She wasn’t getting married without her mom.

Could the hospital help Becky join the ceremony via a video call? Adrienne asked Peggy. Or could she and her groom, Bruce Kelly, get married in her mom’s hospital room?

What happened next amazed Adrienne, a Navy aviation electrician who is used to tightly woven systems and processes.

“They made it all happen in about two hours,” Adrienne recalls of the staff and physicians in multiple departments throughout the hospital who all went out of their way for a wedding miracle. “It was incredible. I’ve never seen staff pull it together like that. They didn’t know me. They didn’t know anything about me.”

Peggy worked with Zeke Esquivel, Adventist Health’s director of mission and spiritual care, to reserve the hospital chapel and took Adrienne to see it. The bride loved it.

Hospital security was advised of the wedding planners, decorators, officiant, staff and guests who would all be coming in the next day.

Meanwhile, another team was working to get Becky into surgery, the most critical need of the day. The procedure had already been booked for Saturday, too late for the wedding. Peggy talked with emergency physician Dr. Jennifer Stever about the need to move it up, and Dr. Stever texted orthopedic surgeon Andrew Lee, MD. … Yes! He could make it work.

Becky and her husband, Jim, live in Mesa, Arizona, a city nearly nine times as large as Hanford and with three hospitals to Hanford’s one. The Princes had never been to the Hanford hospital before, and she was a little unsure, not knowing anything about the doctor who would be performing her surgery.

Then she met Dr. Lee.

“I took a glance at him, and I had this reassurance to know I was in good hands,” Becky says. “His calming eyes, his mannerisms, his direct eye contact. … I just felt like, they’re going to take care of me. I felt such relief, such much-needed relief.”

The surgery was performed Friday evening, without any complications. Peggy had made sure the physical therapy team would be there to help Becky afterward. She also checked in with the nursing team to make sure they were aware of the plan.

Throughout the night and the next day, doctors and staff monitored Becky’s pain level and recovery to ensure it would be safe for her to come to the wedding. And the patient was careful to follow all of their instructions.

The next day, hospital staff helped Becky into her dress. Adrienne came up to fix her hair and makeup. “Mom had a spring dress on,” she recalls. “She looked beautiful.”

And just before the wedding, staff brought Becky down in a wheelchair, her blood pressure monitor carefully concealed, and stayed for the event to ensure she was safe and well. She sat in the front row to take it all in.

Afterward, amid the congratulations and family photos, Becky suddenly shouted, “That’s my doctor!” It was indeed Dr. Lee, passing by the chapel on his way into the hospital. Becky motioned him into the room and introduced him to everyone. And she insisted that he take family photos with them, the doctor who had made it possible for her to be there for that special day.

He was wearing turquoise scrubs, the perfect color for a spring wedding.