Sparrow Honors Caregivers Who Granted Patient’s Final Wish

Published: July 31, 2023

LANSING, MI – Several E.W. Sparrow Hospital caregivers were recently recognized for going above and beyond to deliver compassionate care and a special wish to a patient nearing the end of his life.

While on a ventilator, the patient wrote a note to Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) nurse Nick Stedtefeld saying he wanted to go outdoors one last time before he died. Stedtefeld and MICU assistant manager Erin Muller, along with Respiratory Therapists Jenny Fry and Wade Stacey, were able to make the wish come true, arranging for the patient to go outside on the helipad atop the Sparrow Tower for 45 minutes.

"Being able to make this wish come true was important to our whole team. It was a moment to be able to reconnect with the real reason that we all have entered this profession,” said Muller.  “Instead of just checking the boxes of patient care, we were able to provide true compassion to the patient and his family Seeing him up there enjoying the sunshine and pointing out places he could see was such a happy moment for everyone."

Starfish Award Winners - July 2023

Sparrow Starfish Award winners (from left to right) Erin Muller, Nick Stedtefeld, Jenny Fry, and Wade Stacey

Starfish Award Winners with Leaders - July 2023

Sparrow Starfish Award winners pose with E.W. Sparrow Hospital leaders

As a result of their compassionate care, Stedtefeld, Muller, Fry, and Stacey were honored with the hospital’s Starfish Award for demonstrating excellence and serving as an example of what a healthcare worker should be.

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.  

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, 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