Pacifier Activated Lullaby device for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
For premature babies in the Tallahassee Memorial FSU College of Medicine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), learning to suck and feed can be a challenge. Through a relationship with the FSU College of Music and Professor Jayne Standley, TMH was involved in the development and testing of the Pacifier Activated Lullaby device also known as PAL. Each time a baby completes a successful sucking motion PAL plays a soothing lullaby to encourage the baby to continue to suck. This positive reinforcement helps babies to leave the NICU sooner and thrive when they are home with their families. The support provided through the TMH Foundation allows this program to continue to grow at the NICU so more babies can benefit from this advanced technology and hopefully return home sooner.
COPE Program for the Children’s Center
One evening, while going about her nightly routine, Jolanda McCoy noticed her four-year old son, Carter, had a low-grade fever. “Since there were no other symptoms, I did what I would normally do, and gave him the appropriate amount of fever reducer. He went to bed as usual,” explained Jolanda. The next morning Carter’s parents noticed that his eye was starting to swell.
Jolanda and Billy Joe, Carter’s dad, immediately took Carter to the local emergency room in Cairo, Ga. He was admitted and monitored, but when his eye started swelling rapidly, Carter was transferred to the Tallahassee Memorial Children’s Center.
Soon after arriving in the Tallahassee Memorial Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), a CT scan was performed on Carter and his medical team located an abscess behind his right eye. He was diagnosed with a periorbital abscess with associated sinusitis - an infection of the sinuses and adjacent tissue in the cheek and eye. Carter was rushed to surgery where Adrian Roberts, MD, an otolaryngologist also known as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, was able to endoscopically drain the infection from his eye and affected sinuses. “It all happened so fast,” Jolanda recalled.
A hospital can be a scary place for a sick child, especially in situations like Carter’s, but it doesn’t have to be. As the McCoys learned, Tallahassee Memorial has the region’s only certified Child Life Specialist on staff to provide kid-friendly explanations for tests and procedures, as well as procedural support. Lauren Sherrill, Child Life Specialist at Tallahassee Memorial, said, “I talked to Carter and told him the CT scan takes pictures of the inside of our bodies. And who doesn’t like to have their picture taken? ”The day after Carter’s surgery, Lauren introduced the McCoys to an evidence-based educational behavioral intervention program known as Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment, or COPE. This program was originally created to help parents with children in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but Tallahassee Memorial became the first hospital in the country to apply the COPE program to children from two to seven years old admitted to the PICU. The COPE program is supported by generous donation through the TMH Foundation.
The COPE program is designed to reduce stress for families with a child in the hospital, empower parents and caregivers to be actively involved in their child’s medical care and improve the overall outcome for each patient. It features a series of digital and written material for the parents and play activities for children. At TMH, the COPE program is implemented in the NICU and PICU.
Carter’s grandmother, Connie Saul, was by Carter’s side during the majority of his 10-day stay at the Children’s Center. “The program consists of great information and a workbook with activities for parents and their children to perform. The book Jenny’s Wish was a favorite because, as an adult caregiver, it gave me a better understanding of how Carter felt,” explained Connie. “Carter particularly liked the medical play because it gave him a way to participate and play out what was happening to him.”
“It meant a lot to our family that he was able to play and somewhat forget about his illness during that time,” said Jolanda. “He received such outstanding treatment. TMH is awesome!” According to Billy Joe and Jolanda, Carter is happy, healthy (with no vision issues) and back to playing with his friends and toys.
The success of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare does not just rest in the hands of our colleagues, nurses and physicians, but also with our community. The generous support of local people, organization and business through the TMH Foundation help us to transform care, advance health and improve lives. Here are some of the proud donors to the TMH Foundation. If you are interested in making a gift or are already a supporter of TMH and would like your story highlighted on this page, please email us at Foundation@TMH.ORG or call us at 850-431-5389.
Ed Huck’s Story
Like almost everyone who comes to the emergency room, Ed and Linda Huck were scared when they were taken by EMS from a local walk-in clinic to Tallahassee Memorial’s Bixler Emergency Center. Ed was suffering from what they thought was bacterial pneumonia and breathing was becoming more and more difficult.
“I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it,” said Ed.
Thankfully, although frightened, the Hucks found what all families who walk though Tallahassee Memorial’s emergency room doors find: life saving care and compassion.
Ed’s condition took him directly up to the Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU) for constant monitoring. There, hooked up to IVs and a breathing apparatus, Ed met Shana Geil, RN. Shana was administering medication to Ed and stayed in his room to document his chart when things took a turn for the worse. Ed’s fingertips and lips began turning blue – Shana took quick action to ensure Ed was breathing and stabilize him.
“When my patients are critically ill I always stay in the room to monitor them while I chart,” said Shana. “Ed was very sick, so I stayed in the room to keep an eye on him. I’m really glad I did.”
Throughout Ed’s stay, Shana kept a watchful eye. She made sure Ed had everything he needed, including a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and a humidifier so he could sleep at night. She also became Ed’s resource as he was prescribed more medication.
“Shana saved my life. Her level of professionalism and compassion was amazing. She was an advocate for Linda and I; she even came in at the end of her shift to make sure I was OK before she left. She is an outstanding nurse,” said Ed.
Thankfully, Ed was discharged after about a week in the hospital. He is recovering well, and has a new passion for promoting the kind of care he received from Shana and the nurses at Tallahassee Memorial.
“Not only did I nominate Shana for a Daisy Nursing Award,” said Ed. “But, I’ve also donated to the Tallahassee Memorial Foundation to support training for nurses so that others can receive the same level of care that I did.”
Ed’s donation was hand-delivered when he came back to personally thank Shana, and all the nurses who helped him at TMH.
“I’m not one for the spotlight,” said Shana. “But Ed’s kind words and generosity mean a lot to me. I’ve always treated my patients like they were my own family, it boils down to one simple idea: treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m glad I got to take care of Ed, and I’m proud that he’s supporting the nursing profession as a result.”
Kellie Kraft’s Story
It sounds something like the opening scene to a classic TV show: six friends out on an evening cruise in the Bahamas, it’stheir last night of a relaxing week long vacation in paradise. The dimming light is making navigation hard, and a lack of lit channel markers makes the situation worse. In an instant, the boat strikes a submerged reef, throwing the passengers in all directions.
For Kellie Kraft, wife of Chris Kraft and matron of the well-known Kraft family who own Kraft Nissan in Tallahassee, this was no TV show – this was terrifying reality.
Kellie was ejected from the boat, and instead of landing in safer deep water like the others, she became tangled in a razor sharp coral reef.
“It was a freak accident,” Kellie says. But it was an accident that changed her life.
Stuck, literally, in the throngs of the coral, embedded with pieces of it all over her body, it was clear that Kellie’s injuries were severe.
Kellie was missing large chunks of soft tissue on her legs; her feet, arm and head were mangled and bleeding severely. Both of her knees were completely exposed; the skin on her kneecaps was gone. The tendon connecting her left knee to her leg was severed.
Without Coast Guard and no emergency number to call in the Bahamas, Kellie and the other passengers were rescued by citizen volunteers of the Hope Town Fire and Rescue Department, part of the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA), against all odds. Stabilized in Marsh Harbor, Kellie and a frantic Chris – who suffered severe injuries of his own, including a lacerated liver, punctured lung, broken shoulder and head injury – waited all night to be transported to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
“Chris was desperate. He was severely injured himself, but after seeing my legs and how much tissue I’d lost he begged everyone to ignore him and help me,” recalls Kellie.
The next morning, Kellie and Chris were airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare where physicians were already waiting for her to arrive. An army of trauma surgeons, wound experts and plastic surgeons worked to repair the extensive damage.
“Initially, they weren’t sure if I would keep my legs, particularly my left leg, but they were able to recreate my knee using muscle from my calf,” said Kellie. “They also prevented me from getting any infections, which was one of the most miraculous parts, considering my open wounds were exposed to seawater and given the amount of coral lodged in my body.”
After weeks in the hospital, Kellie was moved to the Tallahassee Memorial Rehabilitation Center (TMRC) to begin working on mobility and healing while still being transported to TMH for skin graph surgeries.
“The communication between the hospital and the rehabilitation center was excellent. Everyone was on the same page, and had the same goal to help me get better. As soon as I arrived at TMRC, they were working to get me mobile – putting me in a wheelchair and building up my upper body strength – with occupational and physical therapy.”
Due to the deep wounds in Kellie’s legs, physicians employed V.A.C. therapy – a type of negative pressure therapy that healed her wounds from the inside out. Kellie had up to four of these devices on her body, working 24/7 to heal and prevent infection. Each of these V.A.C. therapy sites had to be cleaned and redressed every other day, an excruciating process that took over four hours – in addition to Kellie’s already challenging rehabilitation schedule, which included physical and occupational therapy.
Kellie’s injuries severely limited her mobility. Her therapy started with small movements focused on basic mobility to assist her transfers from the hospital bed to a wheelchair. After one month, she was able to stand and pivot to get in and out of bed or a chair. Throughout months of therapy, at TMRC and at home, Kellie continued to progress.
“It wasn’t easy,” Kellie remembers. “I was scared to move in the beginning, there was a lot of pain, but the staff at TMRC were so warm, kind and encouraging. They gave me the drive to stick with it – they’re the reason I’m able to walk today.”
Sheree Porter, MS, CCC-SLP, Rehabilitation Program Manager, not only remembers Kellie’s time at TMRC, but still stays in touch with her today.
“Kellie recovered from her very serious injuries so well thanks to the excellent medical treatment she received along with aggressive physical therapy, occupational therapy and wound care intervention,” said Sheree. “But the most crucial key to her recovery was her determination. Kellie demonstrated the ABC’s of success: she maintained a positive ‘Attitude,’ she ‘Believed’ she was going to heal, and she ‘Committed’ herself to the therapeutic process.”
Kellie left TMRC after two months of in-patient rehabilitation, and several additional surgeries, and began receiving therapy at home. She walks with a cane today, but considering the trauma she’s been through she’s come farther than she thought possible.
“I simply can’t say enough good things about every single person at Tallahassee Memorial who helped me. The physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, orderlies – even the folks who delivered food and cleaned the rooms – were so professional and compassionate.”
As a well-known resident in a small town, Kellie has occasion to see several of those on the medical team that saved her.
“Sometimes when I run into a physician or nurse at the grocery store, I’ll just go up and say ‘thank you,’” said Kellie. “Every time I drive by TMRC I smile. I became very attached to all the doctors and nurses, I’ll have that bond forever.”
Claire Harrison’s Story
The fight against breast cancer has long been a passionate subject for survivor Claire Harrison and her family.
“My mom had breast cancer in 1973, I battled cancer for the first time in 2002, and my sister-in-law, Sharon Ewing Walker, died of cancer in 2005,” Claire explains.
With the loss of Sharon, Claire’s family was determined to invest in local cancer care by helping to establish the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center. Since that time, they have continued to actively support the area’s cancer services. Claire’s brother, Claude Walker, serves on the Tallahassee Memorial Foundation Board and the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center Fund-raising steering Committee, and their mother, Maye Walker, leads the volunteer group that cares for the center’s outdoor Healing Garden. Last year, their efforts proved to be a source of support not only to the community, but also for one of their own.
After 10 years of being cancer free, Claire had a routine mammogram that revealed some suspicious calcifications. Debilitated by a severe ankle injury at the time, she was unable to have a diagnostic mammotome for several months. When the test was performed, she found she was battling cancer again and would need a full mastectomy, chemotherapy, and long-term treatment with medication.
Claire was referred to Tim Broeseker, M.D., Hematologist/Oncologist, and began chemotherapy treatments in Tallahassee Memorial’s main hospital building where she had received radiation therapy throughout her first battle with cancer. In mid-July 2012, services expanded at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center, allowing Claire to receive all of her remaining treatments in the new space.
“The Cancer Center is cheerful and offers more privacy during treatments, which puts you in a better state of mind. My physician and everyone else I have come into contact with at the Cancer Center have been absolutely fantastic,” she says.
After a total of 18 months spent healing from her ankle injury and undergoing extensive cancer treatment, Claire was eager to get back to one of her favorite pastimes -- horseback riding. “It feels like a million bucks to be horseback riding again,” she says.
Having returned to her hobbies and full health, Claire has also inspired another generation in her family to rally in the fight against breast cancer.
“When you go through something like this, it really pulls your family together. My family was great and that really is the silver lining,” says Claire.