Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Warm and Fuzzy Moment in the ED

The Planetree philosophy maintains that in health care, it’s the little things we do that make all the difference. Sometimes the little things are child-sized and fuzzy.

After a bad car accident, a mom and her 5-year-old son were taken by ambulance to the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Room. It could have been a traumatic event. But with some extra-special care from the ED staff, mom and child came out OK.

Jane Bates’ car hit an embankment August 12 as she was taking her son to day care. Retired Prince William Fire Marshall Bill Spicer was the first to arrive at the scene. After he checked out Jane’s son and saw that he was OK, the Catlett Rescue Squad arrived and took mother and child to Fauquier Hospital.

“He was scared,” said Jane Bates about her son. “He kept saying, ‘I want my dad!’ ”

But upon arriving at the hospital, both mother and child were put at ease by the ED staff. Shaun seemed to relax, according to his mom. “He kept telling everyone, ‘I’m Shaun Bates. I’m the big 5. My mommy had a crash.’ Whenever someone would come into the room, he’d tell them too. I was laying on a board and couldn’t move, but I could hear Shaun telling everybody what happened and hear everyone laughing with him.”

Jane added, “The nurses made sure Shaun had something to eat and they let him push the buttons on the X-ray machine. They took good care of him.” Crayons and coloring books helped to pass the time.

But even though Shaun was not hurt and was busy charming the heck out of everyone, all was not well.

Belkie was missing.

Belkie is a stuffed bear that was given to Shaun by his grandmother. Although Shaun still had one of his bears in his arms, he worried about the missing-in-action Belkie.

It seemed that Bill Spicer – with bear in tow -- had been to the hospital ED earlier, before Shaun and his mom arrived. Bill had been asking for the pair, eager to reunite bear and child. When he didn’t find them at Fauquier, he took off for Prince William, thinking they had been taken there instead.

Patient Access Specialist Karen Wise explained to Jane that her little boy’s bear had been located. “She was so happy because that is all he wanted,” said Patient Access Specialist Tina Lacy.
“Karen forgot about leaving for the day and set herself the task of trying to find ‘Fire Marshall Spicer.’ (That’s what it said on his shirt.)”

Tina remembered, “Karen called Fauquier County Dispatch to get a number for Prince William County Dispatch after relaying the urgency of this call. (It was A BEAR, after all.) After many phone calls trying to reach Bill Spicer, Karen got lucky. The former fire marshall had just arrived at the ED in Prince William when she caught him. She updated Bill and he made his way back to Fauquier with the bear!”

Tina added, “After getting consent from Jane, we spoke to little Shaun and asked him if he needed anything. He told Karen, ‘Just my bear, Belkie.’

“When Bill arrived, he and Karen told Shaun they had a surprise for him. Bill asked Shaun if he was OK after his accident and he said, ‘Yes, I just need Belkie.’

“Bill took Belkie from behind his back; there were smiles and laughter all around and many ‘thank yous.’ Shaun went back in his mother’s room and sat there with his bears, waiting patiently for his mom to be OK.

Tina recalled, “The smile on Shaun’s face when he saw the bear was priceless.”

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