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Top-Notch Team Comforts Healthcare-Phobic Patient

07/25/2017

Tufts Medical Center Dr. Geneve Allison’s 10 year-old son, Daniel, is healthcare-phobic. In Dr. Allison’s words, “An annual flu shot is a three-adult hold.”

But that started to change after one experience.

One night, Daniel started to feel unwell and threw up. “Just a stomach bug,” said Dr. Allison confidently. The next day, however, it was clear to his parents that something was very wrong when he was quiet, scared and pointed to his lower right abdomen in a lot of pain. Concerned about acute appendicitis, Dr. Allison and her husband got Daniel into the car and drove to Floating Hospital for Children’s Emergency Department.

As soon as they arrived, every single staff member they came in contact with was considerate and sensitive to their needs. From Transport offering another blanket and asking if Daniel was warm enough, to his ER nurse gently applying an anesthetic cream to his hand anticipating the order for an IV, to Child Life (“Angels with iPads” as Dr. Allison calls them) offering to play games with Daniel, to the Ultrasonographer who made sure to use warm gel (not cold) for the exam, to the Anesthesia team allowing Dr. Allison in the room with her son until he was asleep for the operation, to the Unit Coordinator making sure Dr. Allison had a chance to order food from the dining room even though it was closed, to Daniel’s surgeon not batting an eye when Dr. Allison pulled the “mom card” and demanded to know how many appendectomies he had done. Everyone deliberately went out of their way to make the experience not only as comfortable as possible for Daniel, but for his family.

As Dr. Allison puts it, “A quality institution is quality at every level, and this was proven in the way the entire team cared for my son.”

Dr. Allison was initially nervous about how procedures would go, such as IVs and blood draws, knowing her son’s temperament. Child Life Specialist Lauren Maietta, MS, CCLS visited with Daniel before he received an IV to comfort him. “Daniel had some questions about the procedure, so I used an IV prep kit to familiarize him with the materials that were going to be used,” said Lauren. “This helped Daniel relax when the nurse placed the IV, and that continued afterwards when we let him watch Minecraft videos on an iPad.” Lauren and Daniel also bonded over their shared love of Harry Potter. Thanks to the entire team’s child-centered approach, Daniel sailed through all the procedures, with only good memories of his hospital stay.

This was Dr. Allison’s first experience at Floating Hospital as her work focuses on adults – she’s an attending physician in the Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Center. But since her experience, she’s raved about her son’s care at Floating to all of her colleagues. “Everyone we came in contact with was kind and respectful to my son, and I’m eternally grateful.”

The only complaint Daniel had? Not being able to go swimming or play baseball for a month after his surgery. He’s now back to being a kid and his positive experience at Floating Hospital has resulted in his subsequent appointments going just fine. 

While we make every effort to see your child within 30 minutes of arrival to our dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room, we’re proud to offer a new tool that allows you to check-in for an estimated treatment time so that you and your family can wait at home instead of in a Boston ER waiting room. If your child has a non-life-threatening emergency, please use our scheduling tool to select the time you would like to come in to our ER for treatment.

Does your child have a non-life-threatening emergency? Wait at home, not in the ER by using our check-in tool below.

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