Pat was the first nurse we met when we arrived in NICU Room 2 the day after our son was born at 25 weeks and 2 days gestational age and transported to LPCH. The uncertainty continued for months. She remained an integral part of our son's care team until he moved to PICN 2 months later.
Our son is famous in the NICU for reasons no parent wants their child to be known. He was the sickest baby in the unit for weeks, fighting an interminable infection with up to five antibiotics at a time, chest tubes, experimental white blood cell transfusions, and more. As Dr. B, said, "We threw the whole book at him." He went on and off the oscillator and oxygen levels of 97%.
During the most difficult times, Pat gave us much-needed confidence in the NICU staff. First, by providing excellent care for our son; second, by speaking highly of our doctors and the NICU, instilling trust in our battered psyches.
Pat knew our son well enough to know what he needed before anyone else. She pushed the envelope when he was borderline. For example, when he was at a low point with his breathing, Pat turned him to his tummy, eliciting an immediate positive response in his blood oxygen saturation.
Pat gave us precious and desperately needed moments of affection with our son. When he had turned a corner in his health, which we could not understand in our traumatized state, Pat encouraged us to give him his first kisses. He had been so ill that we didn't know it was possible to kiss him yet in his isolette. Pat said, "I'd do it myself but nurses aren't allowed," exemplifying the love and affection that Pat Carter performs her job with.