A few days before Hurricane Florence hit, 4-year-old Jacob Lancaster was admitted to the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital at New Hanover Regional Medical Center for an asthma attack secondary to a virus.
He was soon transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) so that he could receive specialized care. As the storm closed in on Wilmington, the hospital moved to “shelter in place” mode, which meant that no patients were admitted or discharged, except through the Emergency Department and that hospital staff would not leave the building until it was safe to travel again.
Jacob’s mother, Kelli, shared that many of the nurses and respiratory therapists visited Jacob even when their shifts were over. They made paper airplanes, colored them, and took turns flying them down the hallways.
His mother said, “Jacob really enjoyed the respiratory therapists, including Rachel, Heather, and Mr. Harvey. They really did a wonderful job during his treatments.”
Jacob and his mother stayed at NHRMC throughout Hurricane Florence, and during that time, Jacob started feeling better and could be disconnected from all his IV’s. A long hospital stay is hard for a 4-year-old, and near the end, Jacob was getting restless.
Luckily, Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital has a playroom and lots of toys to help keep kids entertained during their stays. Jacob spent a lot of time playing there and riding the toy cars and small bikes through the hallways.
During the storm, many doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff were also staying at the hospital for longer periods of time. Everyone was looking for ways to have some fun in between shifts and keep their spirits up.
One evening, Dr. Thomas Paulson, a pediatric intensivist, and a nurse joined Jacob in the hallway to play. Jacob’s mom captured some wonderful pictures of Dr. Paulson, the nurse and Jacob all racing miniature bikes through the halls in the Pediatric unit.
After nine days in the hospital, Jacob was feeling better and he and his mother could return home.
“During our stay we were blessed to have been able to come in contact with some of the sweetest people who truly made our stay more special,” Kelli Lancaster said. “They made us feel more comfortable, especially during a hurricane. I am thankful for each and every one that was involved in his care including the nurses, doctors, and the respiratory therapists.”