Gap years are becoming increasingly common among college students, particularly those seeking professional degrees in the medical field. Gap years allow time to focus on the application process and explore a variety of career opportunities through internships or volunteering. In addition to professional experience, Ishaan Dutta found himself right at home as a volunteer for Karl and Sandy Seidowsky.
Ishaan is an incoming medical student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. After graduating from The Ohio State University in 2021, he returned to his hometown of Westlake and began volunteering with Hospice of the Western Reserve. Once he began his weekly visits with Karl and Sandy of Olmsted Falls, the three of them soon uncovered many common threads.
The strongest of these threads is certainly their work ethic. With Ishaan’s drive and dedication to become a doctor, he found good company in Karl, who worked as a tool grinder for Caterpillar, a supervisor for a nursing home, and a maintenance specialist for several apartment buildings. Sandy worked as a secretary and a home health aide and is now caring for her husband of 53 years.
Once a week, Sandy is able to take a short break to get her hair done. Ishaan and Karl keep each other company and occasionally make ice cream sundaes together.
“It has been so wonderful to have him here,” says Sandy. “He has been a Godsend.”
A hospice environment varies drastically from a hospital environment. Though still a clinical setting, hospice, especially at-home hospice, can provide more opportunity for personal conversations and strong connection.
“I’ve appreciated spending time with Sandy and Karl, learning about their lives and talking about their days,” says Ishaan. “I’ve learned that listening is much better than talking.”
Karl has a deep appreciation for both Ishaan and the care he has received from HWR, saying to his wife, “I am glad they are helping you as much as they are helping me.”
Ishaan’s sense of service makes him an ideal fit for HWR’s volunteer program. Prospective medical school students and others who are seeking experience to interact with families and patients are encouraged to apply at hospicewr.org/volunteer.