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How Vidant’s PDAY unit makes treatment more tolerable

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 7:09 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The hospital can be a scary place for kids, especially for those who might be afraid of needles.

But at Maynard Children’s Hospital Pediatric Day Medical Unit, also known as “PDAY,” the staff works hard to turn a stressful situation into a friendly environment for younger patients who need medicine or other fluid in their veins.

Sophie McKee, 5, comes to the hospital from Roanoke Rapids every two weeks in need of enzymes. McKee, who has type 3 of a rare disease called “Gaucher Disease,” had a tough time sitting still with an IV at first.

“She was terrified,” her mother, Brandy McKee said. “Like she was scared of all the doctors, scared of all the nurses.”

But now on visits to Greenville, McKee said Sophie starts clapping in the car.

“She’s like excited to come here and I think it’s got a lot to do with the way they deal with the kids,” McKee said.

The PDAY unit gives kids other things to do and think about when needles are involved, like for Damien Leegooch, 6, who came in on Wednesday for a lumbar puncture.

Staring at a TV above him while laying down, Leegooch watched a Power Rangers movie.

From toys to games, to music, patients’ visits for sedation, infusion, or chemotherapy are made a little easier, according to Keanna Baker, RN.

“Our goal is to keep our kids more engaged in their appointments, in their care,” Baker said. “Just makes more personal connection with us. We get really close to these children and they feel comfortable around us, they don’t get scared. With adults, we think we have it hard but it’s gotta be even harder for the kids because they don’t really truly understand why this is happening to them, why do they need to do this, or why do they need to do that.”

Thanks to the Children’s Miracle Network, the PDAY unit can use an ultrasound machine that helps get IVs into kids’ arms. It detects veins in real-time so healthcare heroes can accurately place the IV.

Leegooch may have anxiety around needles.

“Yes I hate needles,” he confirmed.

But he has a much better experience at the hospital. His message to everyone is to “be brave.”

For Sophie, her mom said the experience helps make the treatment more tolerable.

“It makes her not feel like she’s in a hospital, in a doctor’s office, that there’s something wrong,” McKee said. “Instead it gives her the ability to relax, and feel like a child. For everything she’s been through, she impresses me. Her smiles, her love, her laugh…everything, her. When it’s your child, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for them.”

All this week we’ll continue to show you the great work being done at Maynard Children’s Hospital, and why your support is so critical.

We hope you’ll join us this Sunday, June 6th from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and then again from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. for our CMN telethon and call in your pledge so miracles continue.

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