By all appearances, Nicholas is a happy, healthy baby. But until recently, his very survival was questionable.
Nicholas was born with cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to lose its ability to pump blood. After a short stay in a local hospital, Nicholas was transferred to Children’s with congestive heart failure.
“I was scared out of my mind,” says his mom, Kelly. “He was lying there, not moving, with wires attached to every part of his tiny body. He looked totally helpless. It was just tragic.”
To support his failing heart, the Children’s Critical Care team used a lifesaving technology called ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. ECMO takes over the role of the heart and lungs by utilizing a blood pump and an artificial lung machine. The machine adds oxygen to the blood and returns it to the body. During ECMO treatment, the damaged organs can rest and heal.
Children’s is one of the few hospitals in the Southeast that offers ECMO to both children and adults. And, as the 400th patient to undergo ECMO treatment at Children’s, Nicholas took his place in hospital history.
At one month, Nicholas was well enough to go home. But Kelly still shudders to think of how things might have been different.
"When Nicholas was born, there was a good chance that he would die,’’ she said. “The doctors and nurses at Children’s definitely saved his life. If it weren’t for them, he simply wouldn’t be here."
During his career as a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) Nurse at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Landon cared for children just like Nicholas - some of the sickest in the country.
Caring for a sick child is an emotionally devastating feat for any parent. Unfortunately, the heartbreak of a congenital heart defect (or any other debilitating disease) diagnosis comes with an enormous financial burden and places undue stress on families.
Of the 400,000 patients Children’s saw in 2018, approximately 60% were unable to cover the cost of their care. That leaves families facing difficult choices between paying for critical medical care and other necessities.
So, we have partnered with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to establish the Landon Padgett Patient Family Assistance Program. This program is designed to help relieve some of the financial pressures families face when their children are in the hospital. Gifts to this program pay for things like a family’s utilities, a patient’s prescriptions, transportation vouchers to get to and from appointments, food and lodging. It helps meet urgent, short-term needs for low income families who would otherwise be forced to make choices that could impact their child’s ability to heal.
Donations to this new program go to families of children at the Sibley Heart Center where Landon spent most of his nursing career and allow parents to spend the most time possible caring for their children.
Landon loved Children’s and the patients and families he met and cared for there. He was born to improve the lives of children. Whether rocking an infant or comforting the parents of a child who was just wheeled off to open-heart surgery, his warmth and compassion was felt by all. Your donation ensures Landon’s legacy lives on.