Ohio nurse performs heartwarming song for patient being moved to hospice care

Posted at 10:56 AM, Feb 24, 2020

MEDINA, Ohio — The final days of a loved one's life are never easy, but a nurse at an Ohio hospital went above and beyond to give one last surprise to a patient before her family moved her to hospice care.

Annamarie Berg has worked at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital for about a year. One of her patients, Irene Rusipajla, was being treated at the hospital, and her health was deteriorating. On the day before Rusipajla was scheduled to return home for hospice, Berg surprised her with a heartwarming gift.

Berg minored in music in college, and while in school, she learned how to play "Goodnight Irene" on guitar. Berg said she got the idea to play the song for Rusipajla a few weeks ago.

"One night when I was leaving, I looked at her, and I said 'Goodnight Irene," Berg said. "I said, 'Do you know the song?' and I sang a couple bars of the song, and she smiled, and I knew then that I'd had this connection with her."

As Berg sang to Rusipajla, the whole room — filled with nurses, doctors and Rusipajla's family — was moved to tears.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the house, it was just beautiful," said Michelle Naypauer, Rusipajla's daughter-in-law.

Berg's performance ended up being a final, peaceful farewell as Rusipajla was moved to hospice care. She died a few weeks later, at home with her family.

Berg was able to attend Rusipajla's memorial, which her family said meant the world to them.

"In a world where it's so bad, this is just so wonderful. She's just our guardian angel," Naypauer said.

This story was originally published by Camryn Justice on WEWS in Cleveland.