Young son reassures dad in ED

Springfield | December 26, 2017
ED team helps youngster feel safe as dad goes into surgery

In emergency departments, you never know what tools you might need to provide care for those coming in.

Toy cars happened to be part of the toolkit the day a father and his young son arrived in the ED at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon.

The dad needed surgery right away, but there was no one to watch his seven-year-old. According to Deb Black, the staffing coordinator in the ED, the nurses quickly devised a plan of action and assured the father that his youngster wouldn’t be alone.

The little guy “put up a brave face for his dad and told him that he would be fine with staff who volunteered to watch him during the surgery,” Black said.

She found some toy cars for him to play with. “The little boy was more concerned about his dad then he was for himself. He was trying to calm his dad down and tell him that he would be alright and that he needed to get the surgery done,” she said.

Staff all made sure the son was fed and they took turns keeping him entertained and encouraged while he waited.

Instances like these aren’t rare. Black said the ED team often improvises, depending on the situation — especially when it involves kids.

Once, she and Joshua Wolf, an ED technician, pulled together a small bag of essential baby supplies such as diapers, formula and baby clothes for a distressed young mom.

Another time, Wolf found a Barbie doll to comfort a young girl who came in needing a cast. A fellow caregiver in the ED, Rachel Salsbery, added a special touch by making a matching cast for the doll.

“The ED staff are really amazing in trying to make any child and adult feel comfortable and safe,” Black said.