Smiles, not tears, follow burst appendix for 5-year-old patient

Evan Barron, appendicitis, Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's 

Our-Stories-EvanWhen Evan Barron's stomach ache wouldn't go away, his parents were concerned. 

"We called his pediatrician and he suggested that we take him to the hospital," says Michael Barron, Evan's father. 

"Right away, Evan had to go through a lot of things a 5-year-old little boy shouldn't have to go through: getting an IV put in, having a CAT scan," Michael remembers. "But everyone, from the receptionist when we walked through the door all the way to the phlebotomist, nurses and doctors in the ER, were just great. They were so nice and really worked hard to keep him from being scared."

Fortunately for Evan, his parents and pediatrician had made the right call: tests showed he had appendicitis and would need surgery. The Barron's were tired and frightened when they heard the diagnosis, but they immediately found comfort and reassurance from Dr. Marshall Stone, the pediatric surgeon who would perform Evan's surgery.

"Dr. Stone was amazing. He helped calm our fears before the surgery, making it easier to say goodbye to Evan," Michael says. "Then Dr. Stone came out afterward and told us that Evan's appendix had ruptured, but was very reassuring while he explained the surgery's outcome and what we could expect next."

Evan had to spend a week in the hospital, which could have been a very scary, stressful experience. But the staff made sure Evan and his family felt safe and comfortable every step of the way.

"You've got a really sad situation with this little boy who has tubes in him, and it could have been a really awful week," Michael says. "But we had amazing resources around the clock. Every single person who had anything to do with Evan's care was amazing." 

In fact, Evan even had a little fun while he was there. 

"The Child Life Department made sure there were activities every day, everything from reading books to playing video games," Michael remembers. "Two golf pros from the local course came in and constructed a small putting green for the kids. Another guy came in with a guitar and sang. It was more like a summer camp than a hospital and Evan loved it!" 

Seeing Evan laugh and play during such a difficult time showed the Barron's that he was still the happy, healthy kid he'd always been. 

"We had a great experience that rose out of a bad experience," Michael says. "We were there all day and night, every day, for a week, and we really got to know the staff. We established a relationship with them — in fact, we feel like we should go back and visit!"

"You don't ever want to see your kid get sick. If it does happen, Palm Beach Children's Hospital is a great place to be, not only for the exceptional medical and nursing care, but for all the fun and interactive activities for the patients," Michael says.  

He encourages other parents to consult a doctor any time they feel like something's wrong. If worried parents wonder where to go, Michael knows exactly where to send them.

"Everything they do allows these children to have smiles on their faces, even though they are sick. We were thrilled with the care that Evan received."

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