When Hunter Dowden woke up in the middle of the night with abdominal pain and bleeding, he was worried. His mother, who had been a nurse at Huntington Hospital, called Hunter’s pediatrician, who recommended Hunter go to the nearest emergency department. As he approached our Nan and Howard Schow Emergency & Trauma Center, Hunter felt intense fear. He was only 14, and had never been a patient at a hospital before.
The service he received at Huntington Hospital helped relieve his anxiety. “I will never forget the nurse who cared for me,” Hunter says. “Her name was Megan, and she was punctual, attentive, humble and straightforward.”
Megan helped Hunter relax, even as she administered an IV in his arm. “My emergency room physician was amazing as well,” Hunter says. “The whole team made my experience less stressful.”
Another team member who helped Hunter that day was a golden retriever named Kai. Kai and his handler, Maggie, visited Hunter through our Pet-Assisted Therapy (PAT) program, whereby trained pairs of volunteers and dogs visit patients throughout the hospital. Being with a friendly dog can help improve patients’ moods, decrease their stress levels and help the healing process. “Interacting with Kai calmed me down,” Hunter says.
Hunter underwent careful examination and a series of tests. It was determined that his symptoms would resolve without intervention. He was able to go home later that day and had no long-term complications.
The experience made a lasting impression: It inspired Hunter to consider a career in health care. Now a young adult, he is currently working as a medical office clerk at Huntington-Hill Imaging Center, and is interested in pursuing a career in the field of radiology. “I want to thank everyone at Huntington Hospital,” Hunter says. “I know I can count on them if I need care again.”