No More Worries in the Waiting Room

WHERE'S WENDY? For much of 12-year-old Wendy Wooden's life, too often the answer to this question would be: in the hospital. At age three she was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and has since gotten to know the emergency department through her experiences with heart failure, a kidney transplant, and partial intestinal removal at age five.

But, this isn't a sad story. Wendy's story is about creativity, care, and cartoons.

When a neighbor's two children were admitted to the hospital, she called Wendy – an emergency department veteran – for advice on what to expect.

It only takes one spark.

With help from her mother, Wendy wrote a script for what would later become "You Are Here: Wendy's Welcome to the ED," a 9-minute guide for new pediatric patients at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Narrated by Wendy and animated by the architecture firm Payette, the video now greets every patient and family member at MGHfC who may need a helping hand in easing their anxieties.

“Our jobs require us to treat acute illness and injury, but as doctors, we also realize the need to address potential stress and anxiety in kids who require an emergency visit here,” says Ari Cohen, MD, division chief of MGHfC Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “'Wendy’s Welcome to the ED’ is one more tool in our educational toy box that we can offer to kids and their families to ease their fears."

We can all take a note from Wendy and her team of support (both medical and otherwise) when it comes to seeking out pain points and healing them with creativity. 

When in doubt: take care.