Hunter Goes Home…A Day of Firsts

Hunter Miller went home from the hospital on October 9th. It was his first trip home and only the second time he had been outside the walls of the neonatal intensive care unit since his birth on September 4th, 2011. 403 days after he arrived at Nationwide Children’s Hunter was going home and we were lucky enough to share this moment with the Millers and his hospital team as they shared tearful farewells.

We introduced you to Hunter and his family last holiday season. His mother Cassidy spent Hunter’s first Christmas by his side in the hospital while his dad Dewey was deployed with the National Guard.  Hunter has had significant ups and downs over the last year while he battled to heal from Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), a life-threatening condition affecting the lungs of premature newborns. Nationwide Children’s runs an entire unit dedicated to this challenging condition and every one of the staff has grown to know and care deeply for the Millers and precious Hunter.

You would think having a child hospitalized for more than a year would be rare but on our BPD unit it’s a regular occurrence. Nationwide Children’s is home to the nation’s largest neonatal network and during the last six months we discharged 3-4 children with stays similar to Hunters. It’s no surprise the staff become attached to their very special patients and it takes a large team dedicated to each child to have such great outcomes. But the Miller’s didn’t leave the hospital alone. They went home with the full support of our BPD Team behind them. Everything from a personalized care manual just for Hunter, home nursing care and round-the-clock phone support. Hunter will be back to the hospital’s BPD clinic for frequent out-patient visits but he will be home for Christmas. Another first for Hunter and an anticipated joy for his parents.

Unfortunately, now Hunter’s room is occupied with another family hoping for their miracle and their first holiday at home. This week we launch our “Every Gift Matters” campaign and you can learn more about helping more kids get home for the holidays at www.nationwidechildrens.org/giving.

Donna Teach
Donna Teach is Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Nationwide Children's. Her job is to help the hospital feel "connected" – Connected to each other, connected to our patients and their families, referring physicians, the community and the world.

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