Sparrow Honors Caregiver Who Sang to Calm Fears of Patient

Published: May 31, 2023

LANSING, MI – In an emotional ceremony, an E.W. Sparrow Hospital caregiver was recently recognized for singing “How Great Thou Art” to help ease the fears of a cancer patient approaching the end of his life.  

Clausyl (Oliver) Samuels, a Patient Care Technician, brought the patient to tears while singing the song during treatment. According to the patient’s granddaughter, “He was waiting for a sign from God that things were OK and that he was waiting for him.”

“My grandpa felt such relief and peace that he had received his sign, and that God was with him,” said his granddaughter. “Oliver truly made a difference that day, and made my grandpa’s passing to his next life as peaceful and beautiful as it could be.” 

As a result of his compassionate care, Samuels was honored with the hospital’s Starfish Award for making a difference and being a true advocate and champion for our most vulnerable patients.

Clausyl "Oliver" Samuels Starfish Award - May 2023

Clausyl (Oliver) Samuels, a Patient Care Technician at E.W. Sparrow Hospital, displays his Starfish Award for extraordinary care.

Group Clausyl "Oliver" Samuels Starfish Award - May 2023

Sparrow Starfish Award winner Clausyl (Oliver) Samuels (second from right) poses with his award, flanked by Sparrow leaders.

“It’s nice to know that this small act made a significant impact on the patient’s family, so much so that I was recognized for it,” Samuels said. “It’s just a timely reminder of a phrase I like to use - the small things matter.”

Sparrow’s Starfish Award celebrates caregivers who provide extraordinary, compassionate, and skillful care every day. It’s based on a poem titled, “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley – emphasizing that no act of kindness, regardless of how small it might seem, is ever wasted.

“Oliver worked his way up from a safety sitter role to a patient care tech (PCT) through our PCT trainee program,” said Float Team Manager Austin Welsh. “This is a great example of his holistic approach to delivering compassionate, patient-centered care.”

Nominations for the Starfish Award are accepted throughout the year from patients, patient families, and caregivers.

To learn more about the compassionate and leading-edge care offered at Sparrow, visit


Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. John, as well as Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is part of University of Michigan Health. Through the dedication of our 10,000 caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit