Thrive by IU Health

October 25, 2023

Care team makes it easy for patient to say ‘I do’ in the CDU

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Care team makes it easy for patient to say ‘I do’ in the CDU

On Sept. 23, 2023, a patient and his wife professed their vows in a waiting room on the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), IU Health Ball.

The couple, Byrl Harnish and Jana Nichols, met 45 years prior, but the timing hadn’t been right. They recently reconnected and had planned to be married at the end of September. When the husband fell ill, they had to change up their plans and didn’t want to put off their big day.

Part of the couple’s vows included loving each other in sickness and in health. “Just because I was sick didn’t mean we would have to push off the wedding, we had already waited so long, we didn’t want to wait any longer,” says Harnish.

When Adam Jones, patient care technician, came in for his shift at 7am, he was told his patient was getting married in his hospital room. Jones wanted to make the experience a little more special, so he gathered up the other hospital staff and they made accommodations to change a waiting room into the reception area.

“I was just doing my job” says Jones. “Part of my job is to meet a patient where they are in life, and in this case his safety and health wasn’t in danger, so we were able to help fulfill his desire.”

Jones helped the groom change into his surprise tux. When Embree came into the room, Harnish was covered in a blanket. He threw it off to reveal his attire! “She thought my tux was a t-shirt tux, and didn’t know I had rented one,” says Harnish. “I wanted to wear something that looked as nice as she was.”

Couple's Wedding Photo

The wedding was small with only five guests and lasted about ten minutes. The couple shared sheet cake with everyone who passed by the waiting room. Other patients, guests and team members all celebrated their love.

“We want to treat all people with compassion and respect,” says Jones. “I treat everyone how I would want to be treated, and when people come to the hospital, it’s likely not for a good reason, so I want to find some way to bring a smile or joy into their life.”

Harnish was discharged a few hours later and the couple began their honeymoon to Niagara Falls. The couple plans to have a bigger ceremony in the spring, hopefully this time not in a hospital. “It doesn’t matter what speed bumps we hit along the way, we plan to just keep going and enjoy ourselves,” says Nichols.

Multiple team members helped with the wedding and demonstrated the IU Health Value of compassion including Arlene Boyd, RN, Kim Chenoweth, RN, Natalie Weaver, RN, Adam Jones, PCT and Samantha Blake, RN.

Wedding Sign

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