Nurses Create Dinner Date For 'Inseparable' Couple Battling COVID-19 In Separate Hospital Units

Tuesday, February 2nd 2021, 8:53 pm
By: CBS News

When an Illinois husband and wife who have spent the past 63 years together were separated in the hospital, their nurses made sure they could reunite by planning a "dinner date" for the couple. 

Masako "Terry" Martinez, 86, was admitted to HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital with COVID-19 on January 22, the hospital said in a press release. Martinez would soon learn that her husband, 93-year-old Frank Martinez, was also hospitalized with COVID-19.

Mr. Martinez, described in the release as a veteran who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, was admitted to the hospital on January 25, but was in a separate area from his wife. A family member mentioned to the nurses that the couple is inseparable and very dependent on each other, the release said.

So, nurses Kim Presson and Hannah Schlemer made a plan. They put together a "dinner date" night so Mr. and Mrs. Martinez could see each other. 

On January 27, after five days apart, the nurses brought Mr. Martinez to his wife's bedside. They were able to hold hands and eat dinner together, just like they have done for 63 years, the release said. 

"Just the history of them struck a special chord for me," Presson said. "I know it's hard for the all our patients being here so anything we can do to bring them a little bit of joy is always important to us at St. Elizabeth's." 

Presson added that Frank's doctor approached her for news on Terry's condition. "[The doctor] said despite Frank's own medical issues, his only concern is with her," she said. 

The couple took a photo during their "date night" with the nurses who made it possible and it quickly went viral. Both are still in the hospital but in stable condition, a representative for the hospital told CBS News. 

The Martinez family did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.