To the editor:

I, like many of you, was disappointed to learn that NSMC will be closing its pediatric unit ("Pediatric unit set to close June 23," June 15), but I’m comforted by the fact that the pediatric ER will remain open, especially in light of my recent experience there, which I feel compelled to share.

My 2-year-old daughter was transported by ambulance to the pediatric emergency department on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, around 4:30 p.m., after a febrile seizure left her unresponsive and barely breathing on her own. She was 22 months old at the time. Upon arrival at the ER, she was whisked into a treatment room full of doctors and nurses who’d been awaiting her arrival. I was shown to a chair with a direct view into the treatment room. This was the most traumatic moment for me, to date, as a mother. I sat there in disbelief and shock while my daughter, an otherwise very healthy toddler, was sedated, intubated, poked and prodded.

Almost immediately upon being seated in the chair, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the emergency director – a woman whose name I unfortunately cannot recall. She introduced herself and explained to me, in layman’s terms, what the medical team was doing for my daughter. She offered me a glass of water and stayed by my side as the team hurriedly went about their business. Her support and compassion was incredible – and one of the main reasons I didn’t completely fall apart.

Meanwhile, doctors, nurses and other staff could not have been more kind, empathetic, and efficient. My daughter received top-notch care that night. Dr. Derek Trapasso in particular was incredibly kind and also checked in with me, keeping me informed with what was happening. Even the administration staff, who are responsible for obtaining registration/insurance info, showed care and sensitivity, filling out the required forms for me as I stammered to provide the necessary information.

Dr. Trapasso and his team stabilized my daughter before she was transported to Children’s Hospital Boston, where she spent four days in the intensive care unit  I can report that my daughter has made a full recovery and her prognosis is excellent. No epilepsy, no neurological damage -- just a very scary febrile seizure likely caused by looming respiratory syncytial virus, from which she also made a full recovery shortly thereafter.

So, to the incredible staff who was working in the NSMC pediatric ER on what became the scariest evening of my life to date, thank you. I haven’t spent much time in hospitals over the course of my life, but I have to say, my experience with you has set the bar very, very high. These typed words do not sufficiently express the gratitude I feel toward your staff. How do you properly thank the people who saved your child’s life? I can only hope that this team receives the recognition they deserve – even if this was just another night, business as usual, just a bunch of doctors and nurses doing their job.

Danielle Gladstone

Gloucester

 

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