Emmett Kellogg’s mom knew something was wrong this winter when he came home one evening in tears. The typically happy, engaging 11-year-old had severe stomach pain. “I called our pediatrician and she said to take him to Emerson’s emergency department,” Emmett’s mom, Kina, explained. “The emergency department took care of him right away. They did an ultrasound on his belly and that is when we learned he had appendicitis.”
That night, Emmett was admitted to the pediatric floor, where he received experienced care from the pediatric nurses and medicine to control his pain. A special caregiver visited him — a member of Emerson’s child life team trained to guide, educate, and support young patients throughout their hospital experience.
“The child life specialist gave Emmett virtual reality goggles, which were a fun distraction, and a Squishmallow to help soothe him. Kids know who to trust. They know good people. Emmett was nervous and asked the child life specialist to talk with him. She made a scary experience much easier,” Kina recalls.
Trusted, Experienced Care
After staying together in the hospital room, early the next morning Kina and Emmett met Christopher Schlieve, MD, a pediatric and adult general surgeon. As Kina explains, “We trusted him right away. He knew exactly what was happening with Emmett. I knew he was experienced. He was positive, warm, and honest. He took the time to explain everything that he was going to do to remove Emmett’s appendix and get him back to feeling good.”
Shortly after, another member of the child life team visited Emmett and talked him through the operating room experience. Emmett told the specialist he did not want to wear the anesthesia mask. Instead, she held it for him as the medicine was administered and he fell asleep. Just ninety minutes later, the surgery was all done and Kina saw Emmett in the recovery room.
“There were multiple nurses caring for him. He ate a popsicle, had some ginger ale, and shortly after, we were ready to go home. I trusted the care Emmett received at Emerson. He has had surgeries at a large pediatric medical center. At Emerson, we received special care with the highest standards of quality and safety. Every staff person involved in Emmett’s care was invested in his wellbeing — this gave us tremendous comfort,” Kina reflects.
A week after Emmett’s surgery, he returned to school and played in a basketball game. “He is doing great and back to his regular smiles. We are very grateful for everyone at Emerson who took care of him.”