Skip to Content

Graduate and grandma reunite at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital

Grandson who graduates high school visits grandmother after graduation ceremony while she was hospitalized at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital.

June 05, 2024
High school graduate in red robe and cap with grandmother and nurse in hospital room

As Francisco Taveras-Encarnación walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma from Poinciana High School, he knew there was one more stop before it could really become official.

He had to go see his abuela at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital in Kissimmee.

“She has been here for me since I was a baby,” said Francisco, 17, who plans to attend Valencia College in pursuit of an engineering degree. “She taught me how important it is to get an education and become somebody.”

Francisco has always been close to his grandmother, Carmen Encarnación, whom he visited every summer as a boy. They developed a very close relationship, with Francisco being the oldest grandson.

So, Carmen’s care team was happy to welcome Francisco to his grandmother’s bedside. It’s one of the ways the hospital’s staff tries to brighten some of the tougher days of their patients’ lives.

For Carmen, it brought a rush of enjoyment during a trying time. The graduation “is a confirmation that we did a good job,” said Carmen, a retired teacher. “He is someone who has come out OK. He’s someone who has positive emotions.” The hospital, Carmen says, “has been treating me super nice.” The timing of her hospital visit has been rough on Carmen, who had been hospitalized so doctors could monitor a kidney condition.

Carmen comes from a close-knit family, with three generations living together in Osceola County. She was devastated when she learned she would not be able to attend the graduation in person. She had even started to feel lonely, having been in the hospital for weeks after her initial episode. But the arrangement for Francisco’s hospital visit lifted Carmen’s spirits. “It was a nice little boost for her,” said Carmen’s daughter, Melody Taveras, who is also a teacher.

The hospital’s nursing staff has been helping her feel comfortable and the family has noticed, Taveras said. “They do a great job,” she said. “They are eager to help in any way we need.”

As graduation neared, the family was crushed to learn that Carmen would face extended time in the hospital. But Taveras worked with the hospital to eliminate one last concern the family had to face on an 18-year journey.

“Academics are super important to us,” Taveras said. “She was the person who taught him how to study, so it was really nice to at least not have to worry about whether she would be able to see him after the graduation.”

For Francisco, not doing well in school has hardly ever been an option, considering his mother’s and grandmother’s occupation. But finally being able to show his grandmother, in person, that all of her and his mother’s lessons have paid off was icing on a graduation cake. “It was very special to me,” he said. “I was able to share my accomplishments with my grandmother.”

High school graduate in red robe and cap with grandmother at hospital room
High school graduate with diploma at ceremony

June 05, 2024
HCA Florida Osceola Hospital