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Technology & TLC Save The Day

bruso-gould-tlc-articleTechnological advances in medicine have improved the care hospital patients receive in countless ways, but it was a different sort of technology that Jack O'Connell needed most.

The Framingham man who's in his 90s, but declines to elaborate on exactly how far into his 90s, said he had spent two years anticipating his grandson's Sept. 27 wedding.

"We were leaving (the previous) Thursday morning for New Jersey. I was already halfway packed,'' said O'Connell.

Instead of finding himself on the road the day before the wedding, however, he found himself in a room on the fourth floor of Framingham Union Hospital due to a combination of medical issues.

Which meant he wouldn't be able to attend the long-awaited union of Daniel and Jill O'Connell in Newark.

"Everybody that was in arm's reach heard my plaintive story'' about having to miss the event, O'Connell admitted last week.

Thanks to three nurses - Marina Hoffman, Elita Gould and Jen Bruso - who heard that story, he got to see the wedding after all.

"A negative turned into a positive, thanks to this trio,'' O'Connell said. "They went above and beyond.''

"I had an iPad,'' said Gould, but "I'd never done FaceTime in my life. ... We did a trial (run) while his grandson was in the limo'' on the way to the wedding, and Bruso helped ensure the connection was kept, even though the wedding got started a little late.

"Via computer ... wham, I was at the nuptials,'' said O'Connell. "I was part of the ceremony. I spoke to the bride and groom.''

"He got to say hi to everyone before the wedding,'' said Bruso. "In the beginning (of the ceremony), they were doing a tribute to him, to the grandparents.''

"He was so happy,'' said Gould. "He's just the sweetest man.''

And while most guests might not have recognized anything in the background when they saw O'Connell on the screen, his surroundings probably looked very familiar to his grandson.

Daniel O'Connell, M.D., Ph.D., did a rotation at Framingham Union while working toward his degrees from Tufts University School of Medicine.

"It's not scientific,'' Anna Hagopian, nurse director of the medical/surgical unit, said of the medical benefit for the elder O'Connell to be part of his family's milestone event, "but the little things sometimes make people happy. ... That's part of the healing process.''

"It was a manifestation of kindness, which is so easily invoked and yet so rare,'' Jack O'Connell said.

Perhaps not quite as rare as we think.

People do small kindnesses for one another all the time. They just rarely get reported.

Still, sometimes we could all use a reminder of how much a little effort on someone else's behalf can mean.

"Do Something Nice Day'' is marked on Oct. 5, and therefore officially past.

But O'Connell and the nurses who helped him be part of his grandson's wedding remind us maybe doing something nice shouldn't be confined to one day a year.