Specialized Pediatric Care Worth the Trip

Parents Kim and Joey Martin with daughter Abbie
Parents Kim and Joey Martin found fantastic care for daughter Abbie at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital.

Kim Martin received the call from school that no parent wants: Abbie, her second grader, had spilled scalding hot soup on her legs and needed immediate medical attention.

Joey Martin, a Camp Verde paramedic and firefighter, recognized at least second degree burns covering the top of tiny Abbie's legs. His first reaction was to fly their daughter via emergency helicopter to the burn unit in the Valley.

"I'm considered one of the coolest heads at the stations, but I couldn't think," he said. "I was going with worst-case scenario."

But, at his fire station, Abbie's "uncles" — all the other firefighters — worked together to stabilize her and provided wet saline compresses for the trip.

Then, they drove 80 miles to John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital so Abbie could receive pediatric emergency care in the 24/7 Children's Emergency Center, Mendy's Place, at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital. It's part of the Virginia G. Piper Pediatric Center of Excellence that includes emergency care and inpatient care specifically designed for infants through teenagers.

"That hospital is fantastic," Kim Martin said. "Being a firefighter's wife, you know you have to be calm, but I didn't know what to expect. I was a little panicked; it's my daughter. It was very calm. It was just comforting."

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"When we got to Mendy's Place, everyone was so good, so professional," Joey Martin added. "They talked to Abbie at her level so she understood what was going to happen, so there were no surprises."

The 24/7 Children's Emergency Center is staffed with pediatric physicians, nurses and a child life specialist, who helps children and families understand procedures and surgeries and deal with emotional concerns that can accompany injuries and illnesses.

The hospital also works with other local hospitals to stabilize children for transfer when injuries require specialized care for trauma, for example.

"Mendy's Place was all that we needed," Joey Martin said. "They addressed Abbie's pain, treated her burns and equipped us with everything we needed for home care in less than two hours. They were tremendous."

The equipment is designed for children, and the surroundings, with all private rooms and colorful murals, make children — and parents — feel more comfortable.

"Kids are not small adults," said Kathy Northrop, RN, BSN, clinical director of pediatrics at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital. "We not only treat the injury and the illness. We make sure that the entire hospital experience is the best it can be for the entire family."

The best review of the experience, though, comes from Abbie. She turned 8 over the summer and is now in third grade. Her burns still need to be protected and covered, but she's made a full recovery.

"It wasn't scary, and they were nice," she said. "They gave me a Popsicle, and my legs feel good."

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