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news News Thursday, March 19, 2020 Thursday, March 19, 2020 9:58 PM - Thursday, March 19, 2020 9:58 PM

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu staff helps family adjust to son’s “new normal” after surgery

Duke’s story

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu staff helps family adjust to son’s “new normal” after surgery

Duke is an active 4-year-old from Aiea who loves to sing and play with his toy cars and trucks. Lately, he’s been learning to draw and paint.

In early May, 2019, Duke suffered an accident that resulted in a broken femur. He was initially treated by the emergency team at another hospital, but due to his young age, was referred to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu, where pediatric orthopaedic surgeons Jonathan Pellett, M.D., and Paul Moroz, M.D., managed his care.

“We didn’t know much about Shriners when we first arrived, except that it was a children’s hospital,” said Duke’s mom, Marichris, noting that their initial fears were quickly calmed by the family-centered care received when they walked in the doors. “When we were first greeted and escorted to the inpatient department, we received a goodie bag filled with lots of toys,” Marichris remembered. “This small gesture of kindness from hospital staff instantly lifted Duke’s spirits.”

After his initial surgery, Duke was placed in a hip spica cast, which covered almost his entire body. He would need to wear the spica cast for eight weeks. During that time, Duke and his family returned to the Honolulu Shriners Hospital for check-up visits every two weeks.

For Marichris and husband Norman, learning how to properly manage a child in a hip spica cast was stressful and intimidating. Fortunately, Drs. Pellett and Moroz, as well as nurse practitioner Vena, provided them with the tools and resources needed to make them feel more confident and comfortable with what was to be their “new normal” during Duke’s recovery at home.

“Every single person who cared for Duke – from the doctors, nurses and recreational therapy staff, to housekeeping and the food services team – everyone was amazing,” Marichris said. “We felt so much love and support. Everyone on staff was wonderful.”

According to Marichris, Duke is now doing just fine. “You can’t even tell he was in a hip spica cast – he runs and jumps all over!” she beamed. “We were so grateful to find a place here locally that cares exclusively for kids, especially those children needing specialized orthopaedic care. It really gave our family peace of mind and comfort during a time of great anxiety and fear.”

Duke with his familyDuke in stroller