CLEARFIELD – When Liz Davis’ son, Jaxson, had a medical emergency, Davis took him directly to the nearest Emergency Department where he was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
As a mom, Davis felt what all parents feel when their child needs critical care fast. She was anxious, stressed and – after a being awake for hours – tired. She and her husband didn’t travel to Pittsburgh with much – just themselves and what they had on them at the time.
Coincidentally, Davis’ co-worker, Julie Daquilante, previously worked at Children’s Hospital and, through her connections, had meal tickets sent to Davis so the parents would have a treat – and a reminder – to eat a meal in the cafeteria and take care of themselves.
It was this experience that is going to affect the lives of many others.
Davis and Daquilante both work at Penn Highlands Clearfield. Davis, a registered nurse, is the director of the Emergency Department. Daquilante is the director of Food Services/Nutrition and Environmental Services, and she is a part of Morrison, the contracted-company that oversees food services at PH Clearfield and UPMC Children’s Hospital.
Together, the women decided that their departments should help area families who may be in this same situation. They teamed up to put together bags with comforting and useful items – naming the project The Jaxson Project, after Davis’s son.
In the bag are snacks, bottled water, a blanket, an insulated cup, a packet with hygiene products, such as toothpaste and toothbrushes; gum, a notepad and pen, and two food tickets for the Children’s Hospital cafeteria.
“Emergencies happen quickly – without time for anyone to prepare,” Davis said. “I know I am not the only parent who ever had to leave quickly to be with a child at Children’s.
“It doesn’t happen often, but we have patients in our ED that must leave for higher levels of pediatric care only available in Pittsburgh.”
Daquilante said that “when Liz returned to work, she was so touched by me reaching out that I thought how nice would it be if all of our patients knew that we are here for them even when they are not in our hospital.”
“These bags are not just a great idea,” Rhonda Halstead, president of PH Clearfield said, “but they are another example of our staff showing how much they care about their patients and the communities they serve.
“I appreciate that Julie and Liz have gone out of their way to make this idea a reality to help others.”
Since starting this program, Daquilante and Davis are sharing this idea with the other hospitals of Penn Highlands Healthcare for their own sets of bags to be available. They are also hoping the bags’ contents grow as other ideas are brought to their attention.