The fear of dying alone might plague humanity more than the fear of death itself. If you've ever had to visit a terminally ill loved one in the hospital, you've felt the importance of being with them in their final hours. But what about the patients who don't have anyone with whom to share their final moments? A nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, found the answer.
In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart when a frail, elderly man asked if she would stay with him. It was the end of Clarke's shift and she still had six more patients to check on, so she said she'd return later. When Clarke returned, the man had died, and he'd been alone when it happened. That's when Clarke vowed she would never have another patient die without someone by their side. Fifteen years later, the volunteer program No One Dies Alone (NODA) was born.