One gloomy January morning, Henry, an active boy with a stellar sense of humor, went to his mom, Lorie, with excruciating pain in his abdomen. She knew right away something was wrong when even the family’s best medicine, their two pet pug dogs couldn’t cheer Henry up. Having no luck alleviating his discomfort, Henry started vomiting and couldn’t get out of bed without crying out in pain. By mid-afternoon, Lorie knew it was time to get him emergency care without delay.

At the time, the country was amid a surge of respiratory illnesses and emergency department visits. Wanting the best care possible for her youngest child, Lorie had no doubt that Overlook’s Hersh Children’s Center was the best place to bring Henry, with its separate pediatric emergency department and dedicated pediatric nurses and physicians, who are specialty-trained and board-certified in pediatric emergency and inpatient care.

“There was no way I would have taken my child to an emergency department that didn’t have a dedicated pediatric unit, especially given the time of year and rise in COVID and RSV. We were so grateful to be here at Overlook.”

Upon arriving at the Hersh Children’s Center, Henry and Lorie were whisked from the adult waiting area and into the Michael Gordon Reeves Pediatric Emergency Department. They were immediately brought into a room that was bright and friendly, with soothing undersea décor and soft colors providing a much-needed distraction for Henry. Following an examination, x-ray, and ultrasound, Henry was admitted to the Meri and Sol Barer Inpatient Pediatric Unit later that night.

Together, Henry and his mom took two turns down a hallway and settled into a room that was made up just for them with a dinosaur blanket and pillow for Henry and a couch that had been transformed into a bed for Lorie. Instantly at ease, she knew she could comfortably stay with her son for the next three days while he was treated for what turned out to be a paralyzed section of bowel.

Henry’s experience was scary for him and his family, but the compassionate care he received transformed his experience from one of fright into a journey of healing. From the nurses who were dependably responsive to his call bell, to the child life specialists who brought in a Nintendo Switch to divert his attention from the pain and discomfort – everyone Henry encountered treated both him and his mom with unparalleled kindness during their stay.

“That type of culture and compassion is rare, it is truly unique, and you don’t realize how important it is until you or your loved one is a patient. It is also something that can’t be trained or mandated. It is part of the culture at Overlook – you really feel that the team cares about you as a person, not just a patient.”

Our vision of Overlook is one where each patient experiences outstanding and compassionate care and is filled with gratitude to have chosen Overlook when it mattered most.

Today we are grateful for YOUR support, which helps us continue to be the place that families in our community turn to when their loved ones suddenly need care, just like Lorie and Henry.