Family Focused Care
Cheryl Stevenson began experiencing labour pains at 29 weeks. The North Shore resident was quickly admitted to BC Women’s Hospital, where staff prepared her for what to expect if her baby came early. Sure enough, Finnegan arrived all too soon.
For the first 10 days of his life he did very well under observation in BC Women’s Newborn ICU (NICU). However, on the 11th day, when Cheryl, a registered nurse, came to see her little son, she knew immediately that something was terribly wrong.
“Finnegan was yellow and his skin was almost translucent,” says Cheryl. He was fighting an infection caused by a perforation in his bowel, and now his fragile life hung in the balance.
Cheryl and her husband, Jackson, were astonished at how quickly hospital staff mobilized to save their newborn son. Naturally, the main focus was on saving Finnegan. But Cheryl and Jackson were also grateful that caregivers took time to provide information and emotional support to them and their whole family.
Finnegan needed surgery to close the perforation, but he was too unstable to move to an operating room, so the team brought the operating room to him.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Cheryl. “Machine after machine was rolled into the room, and within the hour, everything was ready to go.”
The surgery went well, but the ensuing days were touch and go. It was an extraordinarily difficult time for the Stevensons, but both Cheryl and Jackson felt fully involved in Finnegan’s care. Doctors even made sure they could hug him before his operation.
“They never stopped anticipating what could happen next and planning for it and sharing that with us,” says Cheryl. “Even though I know the [medical] language, they explained what they were going to do and why, and one doctor wrote everything down for us in lay terms.
“I haven’t seen that sort of family-centred care anywhere else,” adds Cheryl. “I can’t even begin to say how much it helped us at a time when we needed it most.”
Written by Gail Johnson
Photography by Claudette Carracedo
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Here is Finnegan today! With his big, beautiful eyes, his joyful smile and his first two teeth!