Friday, May 17, 2013

A place for reflection

Memorial bench honors beloved MGH leader

BENCHMARK: Ives Erickson delivers remarks during the dedication ceremony.

Just before the start of a memorial dedication ceremony to honor the late nursing leader Keith Perleberg, the sun peeked through the clouds, and the brisk spring breeze dissipated. It was a fitting moment for those gathered to remember and celebrate a colleague and friend who had brightened their lives on a daily basis.

“Today is a day to celebrate the life of Keith in a spot he loved,” said Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse. “We will forever keep him in our hearts and carry his values with us.”

Perleberg, RN, MDiv, who died on May 15, 2012 at the age of 59, had worked at the MGH for two decades including as a staff nurse on the Psychiatry Unit, as the nursing director for Phillips House 20 and 21, and for the five years before his death, as the first director of the Patient Care Services Office of Quality and Safety. His background as an ordained Roman Catholic priest uniquely prepared him to connect with patients both spiritually and clinically.

A bronze nameplate on the granite memorial bench dedicated to Perleberg and unveiled during the May 14 ceremony reads, “In loving memory of Keith W. Perleberg, RN, MDiv: A dear friend, cherished colleague and true champion of excellence in every way.” A small card with a handwritten message – “We Miss You” – was tucked within a bouquet of flowers placed on the bench, located on the Bulfinch lawn adjacent to the nursing sundial near
the steps to the Treadwell Library. It was a location Perleberg visited frequently and enjoyed thoroughly.


During the ceremony, Rev. John Polk, DMin, BCC, director of the MGH Chaplaincy, blessed the bench, and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, shared his memories of his friendship with Perleberg. “I will be reminded every time I see this bench of a great man who was kind, gentle and hardworking – and was unwavering in his commitment to providing excellent patient care,” Slavin said. “I hope when people come here they think about and celebrate the wonderful impact he had on all of our lives and also what he would want most, that we redouble our efforts to make an even greater difference in the lives of our patients.” 

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