Michelle Smothers

Michelle Smothers, RN

Float Unit
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee
United States

I am the father of a patient who was at LeBonheur for a little over three months. She was born at another hospital and transported here by Pedi-Flite less than 24 hours after birth. We knew she had a heart defect and that she had DiGeorge Syndrome before she was born but had no idea to what extent or how long and difficult the time we would spend here would be. We had Dr. J. as her cardiologist at the fetal medicine clinic (Dr. BK’s office) and he had explained to us that she had a VSD and a stenotic aortic valve. That was all we knew about because of difficulties with shadowing and what not on the ultra sounds. What we did not know until she was born and had a catscan of her heart was that she had Truncus Arteriosis with right interrupted aortic arch along with the valve being stenotic and also there was an ASD which Dr. KC discovered and closed up during her first procedure. After the first surgery, the recovery was going very well and the baby was off the ventilator for about 5 days and it was looking like everything was repaired and the problems were solves. Very soon after that her blood pressure started dropping and her oxygen and gasses were not staying where they needed to be. So they had to intubate her and keep her ona lot of different meds to keep her balanced out which was a very difficult task for the team of nurses and doctors. There was a tremendous strain on her mother and me and we had trust issues with several of her nurses and the only nurse that my wife completely trusted was Michelle Smothers because she always seemed to know everything about her and all her meds and how she tolerated any treatments and she seemed to take our child personally and genuinely care about her and her status and she never made us feel like our daughter was just another patient to her. We ended up having to go through a 2nd open heart surgery to replace the valve the doctor originally repaired because it had severe leakage and showed no signs of improvement and we had a hard time with several failed extubations and her not tolerating feeds and developing infections and getting a G-tube and going to the cath lab and having several blood transfusions and the list could go on for several pages on everything she had done but the bottom line is that even though our baby was moved to NICU 4 and NICU 5 and to the 7th floor and kept having issues that kept her from going home, Michelle still showed interest in her status and would call us personally and check on her and if we had an issue with any nurses not knowing how to treat her or not keeping her comfortable or clean, then Michelle would personally go to that floor and explain how she needed to be treated and would still make an effort to make us and our baby as comfortable as possible. She made a lasting impressing on us and we will always remember the nurse that cared so much for our daughter’s well being as well as ours. She would listen to any personal problems I was having while I was trying to cope with the situation or any strains that we were having at home as a direct result of our daughter’s handicap. She was always supportive and always told me that things would be okay and she never let me forget that my daughter was alive and breathing and that she would be home with us before we knew it. I really don’t know if her mother and I would have been able to make it through this and come out still together and somehow managing to get along if it wasn’t for the support of the hospital, Mainly Michelle. There were several good nurses like Charmain and the other Michelle whose last names I forgot but the one that helped us get through this and get any questions or concerns addressed and answered for us was Michelle Smothers. She really made this whole ordeal possible for us to get through. It would have been so much harder on us without a nurse that cared so much because not only did we have hospital issues to deal with but we had home issues and money issues because we have 2 other kids and my wife had to quit work in order to stay with the baby and things just got so hard for us and we almost didn’t make it through this without splitting up because things got so hard to deal with. It really helped us because we didn’t have to worry so much about how the baby was being looked after while we weren’t there because we always knew that even if Michelle wasn’t assigned to her room that she still made sure that she was receiving the best attention and care possible. She kept her bathed and clean and her bed always clean and comfortable and I believe she actually made a difference in our child’s outcome in all this because she always kept her calm and comfortable. So, the least I can do for Michelle is to let her know that she is very appreciated and we are grateful to have had her as our nurse.