Fourteen-year-old Sharon’s journey with the Boston Shriners Hospital began this past October after she suffered a terrible injury at a barn where she frequently rides horses. In a freak accident, a horse bit off four centimeters of Sharon’s bottom lip as she was caring for him. Sharon’s mom, Christine, recounted the stressful experience they had at their local hospital’s emergency room in New Hampshire. “We were so frightened and scared for our daughter,” she said.
The emergency room (ER) physicians and the plastic surgeons all agreed that, given the intensity of her injury, Sharon needed to see a high-level specialist outside of New Hampshire. Not knowing where to turn, Christine and her husband reached out to their wide network of friends in the medical community to find the best facial plastic surgeon for Sharon. That search led them to see a plastic surgeon in Bedford, who immediately closed Sharon’s wound by sewing her bottom lip shut and then connected the family to Daniel Driscoll, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Boston Shriners Hospital.
When the family arrived at the Boston Shriners Hospital the next day, Christine said their experience was drastically different from their experience at the ER. “From the moment we stepped in the door, everyone was so kind and compassionate. On our first visit, I had to hold back my tears,” she said. “I felt very lucky to know that my daughter was in the best care.”
Dr. Driscoll first performed laser surgery on Sharon once the swelling went down, and will perform another surgery in about a year. Christine recounts feeling reassured throughout the entire process. “Everyone has been spectacular at the Boston Shriners Hospital. I’ve never felt so comfortable at a hospital before,” she said. “On the day of surgery, everyone made sure that Sharon was not afraid. There was a lot of laughter and care.”
Sharon’s care has been a multidisciplinary team effort, and Christine has a long list of shout-outs for staff members throughout the hospital. These include Debbie Sullivan in care management, the patient access staff members who checked the family in, all the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the medical photographer, the staff members who wheeled her into the operating room, and the in-house make-up artist who taught Sharon how to help cover up her scar. “Everyone just cared about her and made us feel safe,” Christine said.
Sharon didn’t let this accident get in the way of doing what she loves. Christine reports that she was “back on the horse” as soon as Dr. Driscoll allowed her! Christine describes her daughter as a super-kind, funny and smart teen who has not missed a beat during these past few months. “Her spirit is strong and I am so proud of her,” she said.
The family has also made a generous effort to give back to the hospital by graciously donating gratitude journals for our patients to use. “We just want to thank the Boston Shriners Hospital and everyone that has been involved. We feel like we have received and will continue to receive the absolute best care,” Christine said. “Words cannot express our gratitude!”
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