Liz and Kaycee's Story
Liz Darnell is the Foundation Associate at Crossing Rivers Health. She shares the story of a phone call that all parents fear and a trip to the emergency room that allowed her the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.
The phone call
On February 7th, 2017, I received a call that parents fear - my daughter had been in a car accident on the way to school. I was almost to work when my phone rang and my daughter Kaycee’s number appeared. I was expecting her to say she had forgotten something at home, but what I heard was a very scared Kaycee. She was crying and said that she had been in an accident.
She told me that she couldn’t get out of the vehicle, so I turned around and headed to the location of the accident. On the drive there, I was afraid thinking of how injured she may be. So many thoughts of the unknown raced through my head, but was calmed knowing she was alert and talking to me.
As I arrived to the scene of the accident, I was shocked to see how bad it looked. Kaycee was being removed from the vehicle and loaded into an ambulance. She was so scared. She did not want me to leave her side. The wonderful ambulance crew allowed me to ride with her to the emergency department at Crossing Rivers Health.
The emergency room
From the moment we arrived in the emergency department, Kaycee had several nurses and doctors evaluating and talking to her. They informed me what was happening and told me to ask any questions I had at any time. The nurses were wonderful about talking to her and letting her know what was going on before they did anything. They were able to keep her very calm, which can be a challenge for a teenage girl.
Even when she was being difficult, the emergency department nurses, Katie and Heidi, were amazingly patient. They explained things to her in a way that she not only understood, but didn’t feel like she was being treated like a child. She was asked how she felt and if she had questions about what was going on or what was going to happen next. When she complained about wearing the neck brace and how uncomfortable it was, Katie explained, repeatedly, that it was necessary until they were confident that she didn’t have a neck injury that needed to be stabilized.
When she had to have imaging done, the radiologic technologists, Luke and Mary, talked through the entire process and what they were looking for during her scans. They explained everything step–by-step to both Kaycee and I and made sure that we didn’t have any questions. We were told how long each test would take and how long it would take to have the results read by the radiologist. I was able to stay where I could see her or be with her at all times, that was something that meant a lot to me since we didn’t know how bad her injuries were and also was important to Kaycee.
We were in the emergency department almost eight hours that day, and I was assured with every single moment that Kaycee was a priority. We had updates as soon as test results were in. Kaycee was asked if there was anything that she needed to be more comfortable and when we were finally sent home, her medications were explained, her injuries were detailed, we were asked if we had any questions and were encouraged to call if anything came up once we were home.
Recovery and healing
Kaycee spent almost two months taking it easy because of her injuries, and then slowly built back up to her normal activity. Thankfully, her injuries were ones that just needed time to heal. There has been plenty of fear and stress from the accident, however, she has healed physically thanks to the quality of care she received.
Seeing things differently
As an employee of Crossing Rivers Health, this experience allowed me to see things differently from the side of the patient and family. I cannot express my appreciation to the staff members for diligently explaining things to us and providing the opportunity for us to ask questions.
I cannot count the number of times that we were asked if we needed anything that day. Having been to emergency departments in several states and in both bigger and smaller communities, I can honestly say that this visit was the best experience by far because of how well the staff communicated and kept both me and Kaycee informed of everything that was happening.
While that day was long, scary, and stressful, my family was very grateful for the amazing care that she received at the Crossing Rivers Health Emergency Department.