Businessman Honors Lifesaving Nurse with $1 Million Donation to Maine Medical Center

The burn center at Maine Medical Center is to be renamed in honor of Isla Estabrook. Nurses Headlines News

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Businessman Honors Lifesaving Nurse with $1 Million Donation to Maine Medical Center

Tommy Shaw, a renowned Maine businessman, has left a lasting legacy in the form of a million-dollar donation to the Maine Medical Center after passing due to COVID-19. The donation comes with a unique stipulation: the burn center is to be renamed in honor of Isla Estabrook, the nurse who saved his life three decades ago.

Shaw's encounter with Estabrook dates back to 1991, when he was just 23. A severe diesel fire incident left him with life-threatening burns. Despite the severity of his injuries, Estabrook, then a nurse at the burn unit, was confident she could nurse him back to health.

Estabrook's journey into nursing was unconventional. She decided to pursue a career in healthcare at 42, already a mother to seven children. Despite graduating from nursing school in the 70s, her late start made it challenging to secure a position. Her determination, however, was unwavering. Lynne Bushway, Estabrook's daughter, recalls her mother's persistence, "Every day for a year at 5 o'clock, she would sit on the dean's steps – 'Hey I'm Isla, I want to be part of your nursing program,' and finally, after a year, they let her in.”

Shaw's Appreciation 

Shaw's recovery at Maine Medical Center's burn unit spanned five months, and although he and Estabrook lost touch after his discharge, they never forgot each other.

"He just had a lot of admiration for her, and I think he didn't want to let her down in the hospital, and he just would do what she said,” commented Shaw's wife, Susan.

Shaw, a Gorham Sand and Gravel co-founder, amassed his wealth in the construction industry. His life, however, was cut short at 55 when he contracted COVID-19 in January 2022.


Related: U.S. Department of Labor Devotes $78 Million to Nursing Programs


"He didn't want recognition. It's the Isla Estabrook wing. She saved his life, and that's who it should be, and that's what he wanted, absolutely no doubt,” explained Susan.

Now retired at 88, Estabrook recently joined the Shaw family in commemorating Tommy's life. His daughter, Cori Shaw, expressed her pride in her father's decision to honor Estabrook, "It's going to where it should go.”

This story serves as a testament to the enduring impact of compassionate healthcare and the profound gratitude of those whose lives have been touched.

This story was originally reported by Scrubs Magazine.

Image from Dudesleeper, Wikimedia Commons.

(Editorial Team / Admin)

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