Till death do they part; dying couple reunited in hospital

Posted at 8:12 AM, Apr 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-27 08:12:13-04

by Lorrie Taylor

LORAIN, Ohio — A dying man’s last wish is to be with his seriously ill wife, yet it appeared they might never see each other again. The couple’s son refused to accept that and contacted FOX 8 in Cleveland for help.

Forty-six years ago, Pat and Matt Monschein said, “I do.” The Lorain couple raised two sons and through it all remained at each other’s side until illness pulled them apart a few weeks ago.

Matt, 71, has just been released from the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus where doctors told him there is no cure for the pancreatic cancer that will take his life.

When told he would need hospice care, Matt asked to spend his last days with his wife.

The couple’s son, Mike, said Grace Fairview couldn’t take his father because the hospital doesn’t offer end-of-life care and the hospice facility Matt was headed to wasn’t equipped to keep Pat alive.

“It was too large of an issue that they didn’t want to deal with. It’s just a lot easier to say, “No, it can’t happen,’ ” said Mike Monschein.

Mike said he sent an email to dozens of news outlets and politicians; anyone he thought might be able to help.

“You were actually the first phone call versus a blank email response,” Mike said.

I called the Cleveland Clinic which owns Fairview Hospital but was told there was nothing more that could be done except arrange for Matt to spend a couple of hours with his wife on the way to hospice in Lorain.

The offer was devastating to the Monscheins’ son.

“OK. He’s going to get a drive-by, see mom two hours, and that’s how you end a 46-year marriage,” Michael sobbed.

I began calling other health care facilities in the area, hoping one could take the couple. Instead, a local health care official, who prefers to remain anonymous, discovered no one had contacted the company that owns Grace Fairview, which is located inside Fairview Hospital but is owned by a separate company.

When Matt arrived at Grace Fairview for the two-hour visit, he got a surprise he wasn’t expecting: he could stay for a couple of days … maybe longer.

Mike said his father cried.

The CEO of Grace Fairview told me that his staff would meet on Friday to discuss the possibility of allowing Matt to stay at his wife’s side … ’till death do they part.
This article was provided and originally published by FOX8 affiliate station WJW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio.