Members of the 9th Floor staff organized an event for a patient who expressed sadness over missing her daughter’s first visit with Santa.
Cooper’s Christina Hunter, RN, BSN, OCN, Oncology Clinical Educator, explains:
“On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Stephanie Jennings, RN, came to me with tears in her eyes regarding her patient Shaina Horton. Shaina has been a patient with us since August, and she is receiving treatment for a rare cancer. In April, Shaina gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Zoe. Shaina has missed many of Zoe’s first-year milestones because she has been with us in the hospital. When Shaina’s family told her that they would take Zoe to see Santa, Shaina started to cry. That’s when Stephanie Jennings came to me and said, “What can we do?”
I e-mailed Kim Santana (Director of Patient Relations and Volunteer Services) to see if a Santa suit was available, and then I called Paul Murray (Security Director) because I vaguely remembered that a security officer used to play Santa. Paul gave me the name and extension of Security Officer Joe Flatley. When I spoke to Joe, he was touched by Shaina’s story and told us that whatever we needed, day or night, he would help us. We arranged with the family to have baby Zoe here for Friday, November 26, at 3 p.m.
In preparation, Stephanie Jennings and one of our night-shift nurses, Susan Panagiotidis, who came in on her day off, decorated our solarium and brought in cookies and candy. Our Patient Liaison Jessica Diaz also was there to help coordinate the event and take lots of pictures. It was a moving moment for all who were involved.
Shaina’s mother, also present, was quoted as saying, ‘I would have never been able to get through this if it weren’t for the wonderful nurses who take care of Shaina.’ The nurses said Santa Joe was great and did a wonderful job. We are glad he agreed to come out of Santa retirement for us. The only person that day who did not have tears in her eyes was baby Zoe, who happened to think Santa was pretty great.”