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CU4Kids Board Member ‘Experiences the Mission’ at Cook Children’s

On June 6th Nancy Croix-Stroud, CEO of First Class American FCU and CU4Kids Advisory Board Member, had the chance to spend a day at Cook Children’s. Here is her story. 

I had the chance to spend the day at Cook Children’s for a special program they call Experience the Mission. The purpose of the program is to show/demonstrate how the money raised for our local children’s hospital is utilized. It provides a first-hand, live experience with patients, doctors, hospital administrators and how the “good” we do with the dollars raised impacts the hospitals, patients and facilities where the doctors work. Cook Children’s strategically invites partners and donors to this experience. I and a representative from ACE Hardware were invited as representatives from CMNH partners (CU4Kids in the Fort Worth Market is the 3rd largest annual contributor behind Walmart and Panda Express). This was an all-day experience going on rotations with clinicians and visiting different areas of Cook Children’s.

I started with a breakfast in which the program intent was explained, assigned a guide from Cook Children’s that would spend their day with me and the HIPPA rules of what you can or cannot share of your experience were given.

My first stop was surgery. I observed a skin graft a teenager was having on their ankle. The patient had had a huge tumor (huge because it was the ankle and the entire top of the foot having a skin graft attached). The doctor had transferred some skin from another part of the leg, as well as skin from a donor for the remainder of the graft.  He used a cover made of pigskin that would eventually fall off as the skin below began to heal.

My next surgery stop was to a child getting a cast from the waist down for having broken their legs over the weekend.

And lastly I went to a surgery in which a patient was having surgery to remove his non-functioning kidney. This was the most fascinating surgery to observe. This surgery was being performed by a Da Vinci surgical robot and the doctor was in the corner performing the surgery via the robot. The amazing thing to me is that this was considered to be minimally invasive and the incision would be less than an inch long. The patient would also be able to go home the next day and return to school the following Monday. Children’s bodies bounce back so quickly, with the help from incredible children’s hospitals.

After surgery, I went to the NICU; I cannot begin to explain how awe-inspiring this is. The smallest patient I saw was a week old, and born at 21 weeks gestation, weighing just over one pound. During my visit to the NICU, I saw: many premies, children waiting for heart surgery, children waiting for their lungs to develop and two sets of premmie triplets.

After NICU we spent some time in physical therapy. The kids all call the woman that manages physical therapy “Sugar Mama.”  😊 She was so patient and encouraging with those she was working with. After physical therapy, I helped them take a child that has never been out of the medical center to his first wheelchair ride outside the medical center. He was so busy trying to take it all in.

Lastly, I attended school at the medical center. Cook Children’s employs a number of teachers, at various levels of education, so that they are able to teach the kids while they are receiving treatment and keep their school assignments current.

Cook Children’s was one of the first children’s hospitals to receive an intraoperative MRI (iMRI). The iMRI is housed in a surgical suite so the doctors can immediately know things like if all tumors/cancer were removed after surgery. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals funding assisted in the purchase of the first iMRI and in fact, they now have two iMRI machines.

I would encourage everyone to get to know your local children’s hospital and the impact they have on the kids and families treated there! It is such a great reminder of why we do what we do, and how our patients and their families’ lives have benefited from the enhanced medical care our children’s hospitals are able to give.