Kelli DeAngelis

Kelli DeAngelis

Kelli DeAngelis, RN

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego
San Diego, California
United States
Kelli became like ‘Ohana (family). I feel very fortunate that she was able to help give C.E the best care possible during his short life.

Aloha! My name is C.E. and I am the mother of the late C.E. He was one of many cardiac patients from Hawaii that needed to seek medical treatment on the mainland.  He was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and Ventricular Septal Defect. Some of you might remember C.E. as the miracle baby born 4 weeks early due to a uterine rupture on my flight to San Diego. He was also known at the baby who did not have a name for almost weeks because I was recovering in the ICU before I had the opportunity to meet him and give him a name. Despite his eventful entrance into this world, you might also remember him as the cardiac patient whose recovery was going so well after his full repair of his VSD and TOF, but unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest and passed away, despite all efforts in trying to save his life.

Although this DAISY Award is long overdue, I felt compelled to write one and would like to express my gratitude and appreciation, most of all acknowledge the nurses who made a tremendous impact during C.E.’s hospital stay. I would also like to nominate four nurses who exemplified the utmost excellence and care during C.E.’s hospital stay in the CVICU. Each nurse was professional, caring, kind, knowledgeable and passionate.

Nurse Kelli was C.E.’s nurse when he was first born. For the first week that he was in the CVICU, my husband and son were the ones checking in on C.E. while I was recovering in the ICU at another hospital. It was very difficult time for all of us since he had arrived 4 weeks early, we were away from our ‘Ohana and had just arrived in San Diego without having any time to settle in. While both C.E. and I were in different hospitals, his father was running between the two to check on both of us, along with delivering my breastmilk every few hours so that he would have it in time for his meals. Nurse Kelli did an outstanding job of caring for C.E. during this challenging time and giving updates on him. She also made sure that big brother was entertained during his visits too. When I finally had the opportunity to meet him after being discharged from the hospital, I had the opportunity to meet nurse Kelli and she was very friendly.  I was at ease that he was in good hands while I was recovering. Nurse Kelli took our first family photo with him, she gave me the courage to feed him and told me what C.E.’s preferences were, such as what side he likes to lay on, how he likes to be calmed, fed and burped, etc. She also made the effort to rotate his head every so often so that it would form into a nice round shape. When I would come and visit, C.E. he was always fed and clean.

Nurse Crystal was C.E.’s nurse after his first surgery (when he had his temporary shunt put in place. Nurse Crystal, did an excellent job of caring for him during this time. As a parent, it was difficult to see our baby attached to all these machines and not knowing what each machine was for. Nurse Crystal was able to explain things in a way we were able to understand. She displayed her care and commitment by working as his nurse for 6 days straight. Nurse Crystal’s dedication to C.E.’s care brought a sense of relief that he was being well taken care of while I was still recovering from a traumatic birth experience and unable to physically care for him myself.

For C.E.’s second surgery, we were hoping to get nurse Kelli or Crystal again, because we were comfortable, familiar and grew very fond of them. However, we were assigned to Nurse Erica, she was his nurse during the night shift after his second surgery (full repair of his VSD and TOF). We feel very fortunate that we had nurse Erica, because she is also an excellent nurse. She explained things very well, was very easy to talk to, clean, organized and did an excellent job caring for C.E. during his short stay in the ICU.

Nurse Ana was C.E.’s nurse in the B pod during the day shift. She did an outstanding job teaching me how to administer his medications via the PICC line and was adamant about making sure I was comfortable doing it. Nurse Ana always made sure we had a wagon each day so that we could take him for his daily strolls around all the pods in the CVICU. There was one day that nurse Ana noticed that C.E. and I were bonding in a special way. She offered to take a few pictures and videos of us. Ironically, that happened to be the day C.E. went into cardiac arrest and was put on ECMO later that evening. I am thankful she was able to capture those last precious moments of us. The next few days nurse Ana was off, but once she was back to work, nurse Ana was able to be with us and care for C.E. during the last final moments.

These nurses have become like ‘Ohana (family). I feel very fortunate that they were able to help give C.E. the best care possible during his short life. Nurse Kelli, Nurse Crystal, Nurse Erica, and Nurse Ana all took care of him in a special way under different circumstances. Their dedication shows how passionate they are about their jobs and how they genuinely cared for him. Nurse Kelli, Nurse Crystal, Nurse Erica, and Nurse Ana all did a commendable job in their patient care. As a grieving parent, I often think about C.E. along with the superb medical care he received as a cardiac patient at Radys and these four amazing nurses always come to mind.