As parents of three active boys, it didn’t take long for Dave and Julie Pratt to become familiar with the Emergency Department at Akron Children’s Hospital. Visits became common, helping the family mend broken bones and stitch up cuts.
“One weekend we had each boy in there for something different,” said Julie. “By the third trip, Dave and I were playing rock, paper, scissors to see who would take them to the hospital.”
They were always impressed by the compassionate care our hospital provided. But in 2006, they experienced it at a whole new level – when their youngest son, Sam, was badly burned in an accident. The days and weeks that followed forever changed their family, and the Pratts have been hospital donors ever since.
A culture of caring
Sam was rushed to Akron Children’s with burns covering 47 percent of his body. His injuries required a dozen surgeries, including multiple skin grafts, and a 31-day stay in the hospital.
“The surgeries were an ordeal and the dressing changes were horrible,” said Dave. “I remember being so impressed with the nurses in the burn unit. They were so caring and empathetic and positive.”
Sam’s accident represents the kind of traumatic experience that binds a family together. And for the Pratts, their care team at the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute at Akron Children’s became part of that family.
The Pratts have countless stories of doctors, nurses and staff that made a lifelong impact during that time. One person who earned a special place in their family was Timothy Pittinger, MD, a pediatric general surgeon at Akron Children’s.
“The day Sam got to go home, he and ‘Pitt’ were negotiating back and forth,” said Julie. “Sam wanted to go back to school the next day, but they decided he could go for lunch instead.”
After Sam’s accident, the family began giving back to our hospital every year – supporting both projects at the Burn Center and our hospital’s general fund. Julie also joined the Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital.
“Akron Children’s is something special,” said Julie. “Every child is made to feel like they’re a part of the hospital family, no matter how big or small their issue is.”
“Prior to our experience with Sam’s burn, we always felt good about the care we received, but we didn’t have an emotional connection,” added Dave. “The consistent, empathetic, caring treatment that Sam got from everyone involved was so impressive. But it takes resources to do that. If you want to provide world class care, you need to have financial support to make that happen.”
Support Akron Children’s Burn Center
Our Burn Center provides specialized inpatient and outpatient care for burn victims of all ages throughout northeast Ohio. To learn how you can help support patients like Sam, contact Megan Hopper, senior director of principal giving, at 330-543-5768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.