When employees become patient families

When employees become patient families

When it comes to their own children’s health, Lurie Children’s staff are no different than any other parents. Whether they work as caregivers or in support roles ranging from administrative positions to environmental services and finance, when their child is sick or injured they’re moms and dads first and employees second.

Meet Courtney Calero, who works as a resources coordinator for the hospital’s staff of nearly 1,300 volunteers. When she and her husband, Tony, received a call from daycare that their 4-month-old son, Micah, had stopped breathing for 60 seconds and was turning purple, Courtney saw a very different side of Lurie Children’s than she was used to. Here’s her story.

When we got the call from Micah’s daycare, I experienced panic like I never had before. We were new parents rushing our baby to Lurie Children’s Emergency Department. For the first time in the three and a half years I worked at the hospital, I was on the receiving end of care there.

Micah had always had respiratory issues, but never this severe. Not knowing what is wrong with the little one who means more to you than anything in the entire world is a completely helpless and overwhelming feeling.

From the moment we walked through the ED door, though, I was blown away by the level of compassion and care we received. Nobody knew I was on staff. I was just another frantic parent trying her best to keep it together in a situation I had no preparation for. But, from the concierge staff to the intake team to the nurses and doctors, every single person was thorough, empathetic and unbelievably kind.

In our case, we were really lucky, and Micah was at the hospital for only a few hours. The ED doctor and the resident thought that Micah may have gotten so worked up after a fussing spell that he couldn’t catch his breath. Today our little guy is 13 months old and hasn’t had a reoccurrence, though he has chronic respiratory issues and is closely followed by our pediatrician, who is affiliated with Lurie Children’s.

While Micah’s case was minor compared to that of many of the kids we care for, the feeling of helplessness we experienced and the amazing support we received are things I carry with me every day when I go to work.

That’s why I’m participating on Sunday, January 27, in the Aon Step Up for Kids presented by KPMG stair climb to the 80th floor of the Aon Center. Funds raised will support Family Services at Lurie Children’s, including social work, interpreting services, education services and our volunteer program, among other essential programs. Family Services makes a huge difference in the lives of patient families, and is almost entirely funded by philanthropy.

This is an amazing team at Lurie Children’s. And this is an amazing place to work. I can’t imagine somewhere better to give back to.

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