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"Infant Life Saved"

Thank you. For Tara S., no matter how many times she says these words, she will never feel they do enough to fully convey the incredible gratitude she and her husband, Doyle, feel for the nurses and physicians at Mercy Children’s Hospital.

“How do you thank someone for saving your daughter’s life?” Tara said. “My daughter Zoie was in the hospital for 10 days with bacterial meningitis, and the care we received was phenomenal, outstanding, fantastic, just plain awesome. I would like to recognize some very special individuals who worked with Zoie while in the hospital. I cannot buy them a new car or a house – I would if I could! But I can say to them, ‘Thank you for saving my daughter’s life. You make a difference each day in this world, and because of you, I get to enjoy her smiles and giggles each day.”

On Aug. 20, 2009, Tara took Zoie, then 6 months old, to the doctor with what seemed to be a cold. The doctor said it was a virus and sent them home. That night, however, Tara said Zoie was acting “very odd.” “She seemed dehydrated and lethargic,” she said. “I was nursing her at the time, and she didn’t seem to be keeping anything in. I called the doctor, and he told me to take her to St. V’s ER. When we got there and they drew her blood, she didn’t move or cry. They admitted her and got her up to the Peds floor.”

Initial indications led care givers to believe Zoie had pneumonia, but while one nurse was rounding with Zoie and her family, she was suspicious that something else was at play. In response, resident Rami Arrouck ordered a spinal tap and another resident, Ruchika Sharma, performed the procedure after consulting the family and calming their nerves. The test revealed that Zoie had meningitis.

Tara and her husband were understandably very frightened, and they appreciated the way all of the physicians and nurses involved in Zoie’s care took time to answer their questions and assuage their fears.

“An ICU doctor came in, and started telling me what was wrong,” Tara said. “I asked them to speak in laymen’s terms. I asked, ‘Is my baby going to live?’ They said it was very serious and they explained so we knew exactly what was going on. Resident Ingrid Madjar always helped us calm down when the situation was scary. She had a smiling and calming way of helping us through such a hard time in our baby’s life. Many nurses in the PICU stood out also. Michelle, Alan, Leticia, Kristy, DeAnne, Kelly, Renee and Danielle were amazing. Their great care and bedside manner got us through one of the toughest times in our life. They all took awesome care of our little girl and saved her life.”

They also saw to Zoie’s parents’ needs throughout her hospital stay.

“My husband had a pullout to sleep on, and they brought me a hospital bed,” Tara said. “They were so accommodating. They knew we couldn’t leave her, but we were exhausted, so at one point the nurses took her out to the nurses’ station to watch her so we could get a little bit of sleep. They made sure we had all the little things we needed to make our stay as comfortable as possible. They just made us feel at home, and they really became like family to us. Even Cheryl from Housekeeping knew Zoie by name and always made her smile.”

In a thank-you letter, Tara noted that “situations like this come and go in our lives, and we have to deal with them, but people like you at St. V’s and Mercy Children’s make it a little easier. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for saving our little girl.”

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