HE DAY BEGAN as any other day. A 19-year-old mom-to-be
walked onto the unit in early labor. The mother was not ready to
deliver, being only 32 weeks into her pregnancy. The staff began
to assess mom and baby, and determined the mother was becoming ill
with an elevated blood pressure and abnormal lab values.
At that time, her doctor determined that she was too ill to continue
the pregnancy and that the baby’s chances for survival would
increase if he was delivered now, rather than continuing to develop
in utero. A Cesarean
section was ordered, and the doctors and staff quickly assembled
all the necessary equipment.
The family was concerned and anxious for both mom
and baby, but breathed a sigh of relief when news of a successful
Cesarean section came; however, the baby weighed in at only 2 pounds
and 13 ounces. The mother named him Luke.
Luke was CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital’s first NICU baby. The
entire staff fell in love with him at first sight. He was showered
with love and prayers each day, and was such a “champ”
through the procedures needed for his care. Luke would seem to take
two steps forward and one step back, but he was finally discharged
and went home for the first time at 6 weeks of age.
Luke’s grandmother was no stranger to CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital.
She had been working with the Children’s Miracle Network for
many years, raising funds for seriously ill and injured children.
All at once, those years of hard work on behalf of others took on
a new meaning. Now her own family was in need of the support and
medical attention she so strongly advocated through the years.
Luke became our shining star for the Children’s
Miracle Network Telethon. He was on television, where his story
helped many in the community understand what the much-needed dollars
raised from the event can do. He smiled for the cameras and won
many new hearts to his list of admirers.
Sadly, on June 4, 2002, Luke’s brief life ended. He died in
his sleep at his home, leaving many broken hearts behind. He will
be missed daily, but the gift of love he shared with us will be
ours until eternity.
Vicki Handel, R.N.
CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital
Port Arthur, Texas