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Compassionate Care Makes a Difference


Five-year old Rayne arrived at Children’s National Hospital needing lifesaving surgery. A spiky wall decoration had fallen at home, puncturing her skull and lacerating major blood vessels in her brain.

Rayne’s grandfather Frank got her to the closest emergency room in St. Mary’s County, Md. Soon she was in SkyBear, our rapid response helicopter. At Children’s National, interventional neuroradiologist Dr. Monica Pearl performed an emergency embolization to repair Rayne’s blood vessels. Neurosurgeon Dr. Carlos Sanchez performed two more trauma surgeries to relieve dangerous swelling of her brain and a cranioplasty to repair her skull. Rayne was in a medically induced coma for three weeks.

“We didn’t know if she’d survive,” Frank says. “Panic was there every minute.” While in a coma, Rayne experienced a collapsed lung and a blood clot. “The doctors laid out everything that could happen, including future physical and mental problems. They also instilled confidence.”

Frank asked Rayne, still in a coma, to imagine a pile of powerful, shiny, white “angel stones” that represented prayers and love. Nurses and staff collected white rocks to put by her bedside. They braided Rayne’s long hair and polished her nails. “The care and compassion demonstrated was extraordinary,” Frank says. “Our experience at Children’s National gave me faith that people like this exist.”

Rayne spent more than a month at Children’s National. She recovered fully and started kindergarten four months after her accident.

“Rayne’s story shows the grit and perseverance our young patients bring to their care at Children’s National,” Dr. Sanchez says. “In her case, we all saw the extraordinary impact that a loved one can have on a child’s care. Her grandfather remains by her side at every step. Seeing their bond reinforced our drive to do our best for every child we care for.”

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