Hospice Nurse Who Cared for Baby near Death Is Asked to Take His Graduation Photos 18 Years Later

Bettina Dizon
Nov 05, 2021
10:40 A.M.

When Branden West was born, doctors gave him a maximum of 18 months to live. Last year, he graduated from high school with his hospice nurse as a witness.


Miracles happen every day, especially in the medical field. So when Branden West surpassed the lifespan doctors gave him, everyone was in shock.

Even before his birth, Branden was already destined to have complicated health issues. A prenatal test revealed he would likely have life-threatening complications after birth.

Although the outcome wasn’t as severe as his mother, Cheri West, thought it would be, his chance of survival remained low. Branden was born with Pfeiffer syndrome that affected the shape of his face and skull.

After seeing medical professionals and with his condition worsening, Branden was given only 18 months to live. His parents decided to place him in hospice care, where he would meet Michele Eddings, the nurse assigned to care for him. She said:


“The day I went to admit him, I was expecting it to be a very heavy, tearful, emotional meeting. After all, these parents were admitting their baby boy to Hospice.”


However, it surprised Eddings to greet such a joyful little boy who was anything but sad. Among the issues that targeted Branden was his respiratory system.

Eddings also took and edited Braden’s photos, which she was grateful to do.

She recalled the night that Branden struggled to survive. At the time, the nurse wasn’t sure he would make it through the morning.


“I remember pleading to God to please just take him or make him better, it was just too hard for him, his family, and all those involved in his care,” Eddings shared.

Fortunately, her prayers were answered, and she watched her supposedly dying patient surpass milestone after milestone. “Braden was the first patient I’d ever had the pleasure of ‘discharging’ from Hospice Care,” Eddings added.

In 2020, Eddings had the pleasure of watching the boy who struggled for his life walk up the stage to receive his Apollo High School diploma at 18 years old.


He grew up to be a kind and intelligent young man who centered his life around faith and Christ. Eddings also took and edited Braden’s photos, which she was grateful to do.

Nurses are indeed God’s gift to patients, especially those who go beyond the scope of their work to make sure someone feels comfortable and cared for.

Las Vegas ER nurse Brooke Johns is among the special ones. Previously, she hit the headlines for spending her day-off brushing and braiding patients’ hair.

Her story has since inspired many to be kinder to others and go the extra mile to see a patient smile. Hopefully, such stories continue to influence readers positively.

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