In all reality, we could write this nomination for any number of nurses in the Heart Institute at Children's Hospital, but the care provided by Gillian Hall stood out to us above anyone else. Our small family has lived at Children's for about 7 months this year. Our daughter J was born in February, 2 weeks later, she was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease and listed for heart transplant at just 3 weeks old. As brand new parents who thought they were having a healthy child, we reached the lowest points of our lives in the months surrounding her diagnosis. J would tank and require mechanical support which required us to live in-patient while we awaited her new heart. During our stay we had the pleasure of experiencing many nurses who went above and beyond what their jobs asked of them. One nurse in particular though, took an interest in J like no one else. That nurse was Gillian Hall-Perry.
I can't remember the first time we had Gill as our nurse, many of our days ran together during our stay in the CICU, but I remember two different occasions in which Gill exemplified true compassion, courage and empathy for our situation and for J's well-being. The first of these occasions came on a day when we all noticed that J had suddenly stopped sucking and swallowing. Gill kept saying that day that J just didn't seem like herself. In rounds that day she pushed the attending doctor to investigate via a CAT scan of her brain, the doctor listened to Gill, ordered the scan and it was discovered that she had suffered 4 areas of stroke. It is our belief that without Gill's observation and intuition, these may not have been discovered. Physical and occupation therapies tailored their approaches with the brain injuries in consideration. We are eternally grateful for the way she advocated for investigation that day.
The second time Gill showed us that she truly cared for J came the day after she had a procedure done to drain some fluid around her heart. J had been in pain all night, and the next day Gill was our nurse. I felt helpless, and Gill stepped up, told the doctor that J was simply under medicated and that we needed to get things under control. The doctor listened, personally apologized, and J received the comfort she needed. Gill always advocated on J's behalf. She had no qualms with disagreeing or taking a different opinion to those who held positions above her if she felt her intuition was right about her patient, exemplifying courage and confidence in her skill. Again, we were so grateful she was our nurse that day.
In the weeks and months following, we eventually "graduated" to the step-down unit. Gill was no longer our nurse, but sure enough, she came to see us often, or I should say, she came to see J often. You see, we became friendly with many nurses there who went out of their way to stop by, say hello, visit with the three of us and encourage us during our long stay. They kept us sane, made us feel cared for and reminded us that we were not alone in the hospital. They all went above and beyond in the care they provided our family and what their job asked of them. Gill though, while Gill was certainly this way towards us, her main reason for stopping by our room was to see J. Beyond her father and me, I believe nobody cared for our daughter in that hospital more than Gill. She would come into the room, pick J up, rock her, comfort her, talk to her and simply love on her in a way that nobody else did. J had many nurses who loved and adored her just not quite to the extent that Gill did. Gill was always focused on J first, it was truly heartwarming to watch and obvious that she felt a connection with her.