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The one hundred honoree: Brian J. MacDonnell, RN

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Brian J. MacDonnell, RN

Mass General Giving

For more than 25 years, Brian MacDonnell’s presence as an oncology nurse at Mass General made a difference in the lives of his patients and colleagues. Sadly, Brian lost a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer in August 2013 — but his impact lives on. His exquisite nursing care, empathetic interactions, genuine collegiality and laugh still echo in the hallways of Lunder 10 and carry on in the hearts of the Bone Marrow Transplant team.

As a veteran of the Air Force, Brian brought his attention to detail, collaborative sprit, dedication and pride in service to his work at Mass General. Whether repairing broken glasses for a patient who’d been unable to see for days, rehashing a recent Patriots game with a patient like old friends, making personalized mix CDs for patients he knew were spending innumerable hours at the hospital or fixing little things on Lunder 10 with tools from his personal toolkit, he created a warm, friendly environment while providing the highest quality of care to patients.

In Brian’s eulogy, his brother shared, “Brian loved his job. For most of his 27-year nursing career, he cared deeply for hundreds, if not thousands, of cancer patients at Mass General. He treated all his patients as if they were one of his own, and he loved his coworkers. Mass General was truly his home away from home. We would often ask him when he would be home from his 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift. He would always say, ‘It depends.’ It depends on what circumstances he was presented with at 7 p.m. Most of the time we wouldn’t see him until 9 p.m., because the patient always came first.”

In remembrance of Brian’s tireless giving, warm winter blankets were distributed to each of the 32 patients admitted during this holiday season on Lunder 10. In the words of his team, “Staff continue to persevere in spite of the loss of this great colleague, just as he would — with a smile on his face and a willingness to serve.”