When you think about UC Davis Children's Hospital, you might picture the little ones who are currently receiving treatment there. But there is also a story to be told about the grown-ups who are thriving and healthy today thanks to their past experience with the hospital. Jim Sutton is one of them.
The year was 1988. Ten-year-old Jim was hit and run over by a station wagon while riding bikes with his friends in the community of Lake of the Pines. He was so severely injured, the doctors at the nearest hospital were not able to treat all of his trauma. So he was flown by helicopter to UC Davis Children's Hospital.
With a broken femur, several hip fractures, and other injuries all over his body, Jim stayed in the hospital for seven weeks under the care of some of the best doctors and nurses in their field. Jim has been known to say about his treatment, "They put Humpty Dumpty back together again."
Reflecting on his experience, he told FOX40, "That was 24 years ago. So to imagine what they do now and the technologies they have now, blows my mind."
One of the nurses who cared for him back then, Patty McCabe, RN, is still on the job today. During a recent reunion with Jim, Nurse Patty talked about the formula for success in cases like his. "Keep your leg in alignment. Keep your butt in your bed. But keep your brain moving and running and active."
She pointed out how the hospital's play room is made wide enough so that children can be taken there in their hospital beds.
The doctors and nurses strive to learn "who (the children) are, what they need, how they understand things, how they process things, what's important to them," explained McCabe.
"So we designed pediatrics to meet the needs of the kids... What does the whole kid need? He needs social interactions. He needs rules. He needs routine." And routine includes school work and creative projects.
McCabe further explained, "What we know from 25 years ago taking care of him, and what we know now has continued to grow, has continued to expand, and continued to encompass the entire family."
Today Jim Sutton is a thriving husband and father with a physical job. And he is thankful, every day, for how UC Davis Children's hospital made it possible for him to thrive.
"If it wasn't for them, I don't think I could walk," Sutton said. "The support and the know-how of what they do is amazing. And I am truly thankful for them."