A CANCER patient had her final wish granted when she married her long-term partner in the emergency department just hours before she died.
Staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham arranged for Jill Smurthwaite to marry Rob Capaldi at the hospital on Sunday.
The loving couple from Portsmouth had been together for 28 years but sadly Jill died the following day aged 62, after being married for just 26 hours.
Their story was shared by Portsmouth NHS Hospitals Trust on Facebook.
Rob, 64, a sign writer, said: ‘The wedding did mean a lot to us and I will remember it forever, but it’s the little things that really made a difference.
‘It was having special slippers provided by staff on a rainy day before Jill left hospital during a previous admission.
‘It was a really thoughtful card and gifts from a member of staff, Sam, who said she had “taken a liking” to me and Jill.
‘It was Eliot, the consultant, giving me his mobile number after Jill passed away, and telling me to ring any time.
‘Dr Rebecca Mallinson was truly wonderful, the special attention she gave to us meant a great deal to us both.’
The wedding was arranged in only five hours, after staff pulled together to contact registrars and collect flowers, food, confetti and even bucks fizz.
Rob thanked everybody who made the wedding possible. He added: ‘From top to bottom the care was exceptional and I haven’t got a bad word to say about anyone at the hospital.
‘I want to say thank you to everyone, I can’t put into words what a difference their kindness has made.’
Rob’s four daughters Ella, Lucie, Holly and Laura, to whom Jill was a ‘second mum’, acted as bridesmaids.
Jill, a civil servant, had been diagnosed with lung cancer in February, and fought the disease bravely.
Eliot Wilkinson, consultant in emergency medicine and associate clinical director, paid tribute to Jill’s courage and to the compassion of the staff who made the wedding possible.
He thanked all who had been involved in making Jill’s ‘most cherished wish’ a reality. He said it was ‘an extraordinarily touching display of compassion and profound humanity, which helped to fulfil the dying wish of an incredibly brave and determined woman.’