A Cleveland Clinic & HIMSS Event. Find out more

What Good Is Compassion Without Honesty?

May 19, 2020
9:05am - 9:30am
Grand Ballroom

After a devastating asthma attack, Peter DeMarco’s young wife, Laura Levis, spent seven days on life support in an ICU. As her friends and family held vigil by her bedside the staff could not have been more compassionate and caring, so much so that Peter wrote them a thank-you letter even though Laura did not survive. The New York Times published the letter, calling it, “A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife,” and within 24 hours it became the paper's most read-story, reinforcing to tens of thousands of healthcare professionals just how important empathy is in their jobs. 

After the letter was published, Peter learned that he was not told the truth about his wife's attack and that mistakes were made by her healthcare provider that likely cost Laura her life. Peter wonders: how meaningful is compassion without honesty? What is the net effect when a healthcare provider exhibits incredible empathy at the beginning of care, only to turn cold and uncaring when fearing a lawsuit? Learn what that thank-you letter still means to Peter as he delves into these questions and shares other important lessons from Laura's tragedy.


Losing Laura



Healthcare leaders at the forefront of the global patient experience movement will address which systems, tools and insights revolutionize the role of the patient and the caregiver. We’ll explore patient perspectives and clinical considerations to understand how empathy and innovation must be incorporated as integral pillars to deliver the best clinical, physical and emotional experience in healthcare.


Read Patient Stories >>