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news News Thursday, May 13, 2021 Thursday, May 13, 2021 11:53 AM - Thursday, May 13, 2021 11:53 AM

Emilia’s story

Holistic healing at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston

Emilia’s story

Emilia is a bubbly 2-year-old who loves Minnie Mouse, arts and crafts and her big brother! Her mother, Christina, shared the story of Emilia’s burn injury and her healing journey at the Boston Shriners Hospital.

What can you tell us about Emilia’s burn injury?

When Emilia was 13 months old, she and her almost 3-year-old brother were playing while lunch was being prepared. Our curious children showed us that not everything is childproof as they made it past the child gate and accessed the area of our wood-burning fire stove. Emilia, not aware of the danger, put her hands on the iron stove. Lacking the reflex to pull away at this age, her hands continued to burn until she was physically pulled away after she screamed.

How did Emilia come to the Boston Shriners Hospital for care?

We took Emilia to the closest pediatric emergency department that was also a designated burn center. Their emergency care was excellent, yet the follow-up appointment left me uneasy. As a nurse myself, I wasn’t comfortable with their long-term treatment plan for providing Emilia with the most optimal outcome throughout her childhood, so I sought a second opinion. I had past professional experience being a travel nurse in the burn unit of Massachusetts General Hospital eight years prior to Emilia’s injury, so I reached out to a former colleague for advice. Contact was immediately made with the Boston Shriners Hospital and in less than 24 hours, Emilia’s first appointment was scheduled within the next few days! They were so quick to respond to our concerns and Emilia’s needs.

How would you describe the care you received at the Boston Shriners Hospital?

The Boston Shriners Hospital has offered us nothing less than the most holistic healing experience. At our first appointment, Emilia, my husband and I were met by not only the doctor and nurses, but also by a child life specialist, Rebecca, who assured us she would assist in monitoring Emilia’s emotional needs throughout this journey. Our occupational therapist, Courtney, communicated with us and our surgeon in such a team-playing way that calmed our fears about Emilia’s physical care needs. We met with a social worker, Liza, who immediately told us that she was here to support us as parents and all of our needs.

While this journey has impacted so much of Emilia’s life, Shriners has always taken a whole family approach so that we have the holistic (mental, emotional, and physical) support that we need in order to continue Emilia’s healing at home. Even her big brother, Christian, has been met with open arms when he tagged along to clinic appointments.

What is special about the Boston Shriners Hospital?

We absolutely love our team! Our social worker Liza, our occupational therapist Courtney, and our child life therapist Rebecca, have been angels on earth to us! They are so supportive and truly make Emilia feel comfortable always! Certainly our doctors Dr. Sheridan, and most recently Dr. Driscoll, have been amazing at explaining their approach and keeping Emilia’s best interest in the present and for the future in constant conversation!

In the health care field nationwide, advocacy and questioning from patients and families can sometimes be met with resistance from medical personnel. It is the style in health care that has stepped away from the whole person healing approach that is needed for people to reach their most optimal state of wellness. This is not the case at Shriners. We have never received less than 100% support in our journey.

What else can you tell us about Emilia and your family?

Emilia loves anything arts and crafts. She loves to color and play with playdough (which has been a great form of hand therapy!). She will partake in just about anything her big brother does as well! Emilia is the little sister to her almost 4-year-old brother, Christian, and is very excited to soon be a big sister to another brother on the way! I am a registered nurse and own a nurse coach business that helps to bring a holistic approach to my clients’ health journeys and educate other hospital nurses on incorporating holistic models in their practice. My husband, Ryan, is a manager within a distribution center. Emilia has lots of aunts, uncles and cousins, along with her grandparents who have not only been supportive, but also lots of fun and great entertainment for our Boston trips!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

When I met both of Emilia’s primary surgeons, I shared my vision for Emilia. I explained that if she wanted to be a surgeon in 25-30 years, I wanted her hands to be able to perform as if they were never injured. Neither of her physicians made me feel that my vision and hopes for my daughter were unobtainable. I feel as though the Boston Shriners Hospital exemplifies above and beyond exceptional care! They establish trust for both child and parents straight out of the gate that lasts throughout the medical journey. Nothing feels better as a mom and a nurse to know their child is in the best of hands within the health care system!