Children's Center Patient Stories

ShelbyBassettShelby Bassett

What started out as a week of spring break fun ended with a hospital stay for seven-year old Shelby Bassett. 

“Shelby was visiting my sister in Tampa,” says Meghan Bassett, Shelby’s mom.  “My sister called Thursday night to say Shelby wasn’t feeling well.”    Shelby had stubbed her toe at school the week prior and stubbed it again. She had a fever and her toe was red and warm. “We drove to Tampa to pick her up.”

It was 12:30 a.m. when the Bassets arrived at TMH’s Emergency Center-Northeast.  “Thankfully, parking was very convenient and we didn’t have to wait long at all,” said Meghan.  Due to Shelby’s high fever, her pediatrician, Dr. Anna Koeppel, admitted her right away to the Children’s Center, TMH’s inpatient pediatric unit, for observation and an MRI.  

A hospital can me a scary place for a sick child, but it doesn’t have to be.  The Children’s Center has a child life specialist on staff to provide kid-friendly explanations for tests and procedures as well as procedural support.  TMH Child Life Specialist Lauren Sherrill recalls, “I told Shelby the MRI looks like a giant doughnut, and we all like doughnuts, right?”  “I used a picture book to show her exactly what the machine looks like and said it makes a loud sound, but it won’t hurt you.”  

Osteomyelitis – an infection in the bone – was suspected. “Dr. Wong, the orthopedist, was great and so quick to speak to us after the MRI,” said Megan.  Shelby spent four days in the hospital and was discharged, continuing her antibiotics.

Ten days later, Shelby had a fever of 102 degrees and was readmitted. She had developed scarlet fever, an infection caused by strep bacteria. “The infection settled in her fractured toe,” said Meghan.  “I know scarlet fever can be very serious. I’m a pediatric nurse, but when your own child is sick, it’s tough.” A PICC line – a peripherally inserted central catheter – was prescribed for extended antibiotic therapy.

The trip back to the Children’s Center meant seeing familiar faces.  Child Life Specialist Lauren Sherrill worked with Shelby again, this time to explain the PICC line. “I showed her where the catheter inserts in her arm and how it looks once taped up.”   Explaining what to expect  was calming for Shelby and her mom.  Once she was feeling better, the art therapist visited Shelby and colored pictures with her – a comforting and familiar activity she does at home.

Shelby is fully recovered and doing very well.  The Bassett family is grateful for her care at every step and especially the extra care given to make her comfortable and unafraid.  “We were very confident with the care she received,” said Meghan.