Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Holiday Idea in the Ann Arbor Area

The UM Health System has teamed up with the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company to help send pediatric burn patients to camp
“We choose the Trauma Burn Center and the Kids Burn Camp  because it specifically involved children, and especially children that have suffered from an extremely painful and traumatic event,” says Bob Turner, president of the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company. “Our goal is to send as many kids to burn camp as possible, and we can see the direct result from our efforts, which are different then when you give to a large charitable organization. Here we know that with about every $500 dollars we raise, another kid gets to go to camp. It's very rewarding.”

The Chelsea Teddy Bear Company is offering red felt hearts that individuals can purchase for $1 at its stores. The hearts will then be “stuffed” into the World's Largest Real Teddy Bear, with the proceeds benefiting Kids Burn Camp. Not only will participants help children gain the ability to cope with life after being burned, but also be part of breaking a world's record.
This reminds me of another medical school story.  When I was in my fourth year, I spent a month on pediatric ENT.  We were doing rounds at the end of the day, when the senior resident got a stat page.  One of the kids had developed respiratory distress.  He had had a tracheostomy, such that he could breath only through a tube that had been inserted into a surgical opening in his trachea.  The tube itself fit into a little flange that kept the tube from going into his lungs.  The tube was supposed to be glued to the flange.  Unfortunately, the device had been shipped without having been glued together. 

There was a very real risk that the kid was going to die, so we were in a hurry.  We wheeled the patient, on his hospital bed, down the hall and into the elevator.  There were two well-dressed persons there, who looked like ladies but did not act like ladies.  The resident informed them that this was an emergency, and instructed them to get off the elevator. They were indignant.  The resident cursed at them after the elevator door closed.  We got to the OR area where bronchoscopies are done.  Within minutes, the resident had used the bronchoscope to remove the tube, and the kid was fine.

Later, when we went to visit the kid, someone had taken his teddy bear down to X-ray and had an X-ray of the bear up on his window.  The kid's mother went up to the resident and said, "I was SO glad to see you come in, I knew you would save my son."

There was no need to tell her that a good outcome had not been a sure thing.  Anyway, I'll never forget that teddy bear.