Beyond a doubt, stuffed toys can do wonders for sick children during their terrifying hospital stay. Toys can bring comfort to the children, soothe their anxiety, and motivate them to get well.
That’s why Canadian pediatric neurosurgeon Daniel McNeely duly complied when his small patient, Jackson Mckie, 8, asked him to fix his teddy bear before heading into surgery to have a shunt repaired at the IWK Health Center in Halifax.
To cheer up Jackson, who has hydrocephalus, a condition characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the brain, Dr. McNeely didn’t say no.
“I thought if there was something I could do to help make him feel better, it seemed like a simple gesture and I was only too happy to oblige,” Dr. McNeely told CTV News.
After Jackson’s surgery was completed, Dr. McNeely performed a little procedure on his ripped teddy, named Little Baby, on a small operation table.
“It’s his best buddy,” Jackson’s father, Rick, told CBC. “When he was born, he had it ever since with him. Through thick or thin.”
The stuffed bear was given to him by a family friend when Jackson’s parents went to get an ultrasound to detect the gender of the baby.
Wearing surgical gloves and face masks, Dr. McNeely gave Little Baby some extra TLC by patching up a tear underneath its arm with leftover stitches from Jackson’s procedure. Treating this “surgery” seriously, he even placed an oxygen mask on Little Baby.
“There’s always a few stitches that are left over from the case itself and they normally get disposed of,” said the physician who got to operate on Little Baby.
Dr. McNeely also explained that he has seen kids bring in their stuffed animals to the operating room to comfort themselves, but Jackson’s request was the first.
Patient asks if I can also fix teddy bear just before being put off to sleep… how could I say no? pic.twitter.com/WOKFc5zr91
— P. Daniel McNeely (@pdmcneely) September 30, 2018
This unusual “operation” was caught on camera by a medical resident at the health center. Thinking the photos “might make some people smile somewhere,” Dr. McNeely shared them on Twitter.
Dr. McNeely tweeted, “Patient asks if I can also fix teddy bear just before being put off to sleep… how could I say no?”
Unsurprisingly, the tweet went viral, garnering more than 43,000 likes and over 19,000 retweets. The funny photos showing the gentle side of a doctor warmed the hearts of many netizens.
Little baby and I had a big argument and he wants some time away from home and he was wondering if he can go in the big truck with you for a while? Robbie McKie
“This definitely put a smile to my face. Love it!!” one wrote.
Many users applauded Dr. McNeely for delivering the extra service.
“Thank you, Dr. McNeely, for going the extra mile in patient care!” one wrote.
Another commented, “Your compassion is a lesson to all of us.”
Jackson’s brother Dustin Mckie chimed in to praise Dr. McNeely as well.
“That’s my brothers bear!! Thank you so much Dr. McNeely you’re a literal life saver,” Dustin wrote.
Dr. McNeely’s kind gesture meant the world to Jackson and his family, who now keep a framed photo print of Little Baby’s surgery.
“He was so proud. He had Little Baby laying up in the hospital bed with him and everything,” Rick said.
Jackson and Tyler and I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and their phone calls and texts the operation…
The father was grateful to Dr. McNeely for going the extra mile to fulfill Jackson’s wish.
“It made us feel better about being there,” he said.
Fortunately, both Jackson and Little Baby are recovering well, though the boy says the teddy is still “a little moody.”