Medical musicians give unique care at hospital

DENVER - You don’t expect to hear people singing and playing classic songs in an hospital. But on the 10th floor at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Lee Newman is being treated to live music.

It’s being performed by a group who not only sings there, but works there.

Lela Monsoori, Brandt Miller, Angie Appel, Daniel Rule and Sam Helgeson are physicians, nurses and staff members who not only provide patients with medical care, but musical care.

For them, making rounds take on a whole new meaning.

For transplant patient Rick Almond, they are a welcome sight.

"I’ve been really sick for a few years here, and liver gave out, and the kidneys started giving out and was close to not making it,” Almond says.

As they performed it wasn't hard to tell how much the music moved him. And it's moments like that, that makes them glad they started the group.

“We all sort of realized that we were all musicians,” says Miller.

 Six months ago they began sharing their love of music with their patients between their other hospital duties.

“The space in this hospital can be really hard and intense for patients,” says nurse Angie Appel. “And so we get to come in and bring a sense of lightness and help, and it's so inspiring for me I love it.”

Endocrinologist Dr. Lela Mansoori sings with the group as well and says the impact is far reaching.

“It releases stress,” Dr. Mansoori says. “It lowers cortisol and it actually has been shown in several scientific studies to decrease the length of stay to decrease the disease progression and it's just been very beneficial for patients.”

In the short term, it's bringing a huge smile to Steve Barbier's face, even as he battles cancer.

“It's nice to have a little change of pace,” Barbier says. “Because i can't go out or anything so yeah they did raise my spirits.”

As duty calls, the group gets smaller, but their determination doesn't.

The next stop is Don Grosser's room.

After hearing the group play “Brown Eyed Girl,” Grosser says, “It was wonderful. Wonderful.”

It's said that music can touch the soul, and this group is proof that it can do so much more. It's building connection and trust.

“To come in and have a relaxing music side of them is really great,” Almond says. “It just makes it more person to person, more one on one.” And it’s bringing joy to those who play and listen.

 

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