In celebration of the Palmetto Health Children’s Emergency Center 20th anniversary, a local family shares their story of gratitude for their newly adopted son’s emergency care.
As a special education teacher at Lexington High School, Suzanne Myers had a special place in her heart for children with special needs. She and her husband, William “Billy” Myers, spent two years working with an organization that specializes in international adoptions of orphans with special needs.
In anticipation of adopting a son who would need lots of love and attention, Myers became a stay-at-home mother who also is a fitness instructor at a gym in Lexington. Her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were excited about having a new sibling.
The family welcomed 3-year-old Boone, an orphan from Bulgaria, into their home Dec. 23, 2015. “Boone has spina bifida and hydrocephalus. He is paralyzed from the waist down. We were aware of all his medical issues prior to the adoption,” said Myers. “When we first read his file, we just fell in love with him.”
In mid-January Boone was given a toddler-sized manually propelled wheelchair. “He was just learning about how the wheelchair works and wasn’t very good at maneuvering it yet,” said Myers.
The Myers family was planning to move into a new home that would be more wheelchair accessible for Boone. They went to visit a home in February to see what modifications could be done to make it work best for Boone. One of the rooms had a short flight of stairs.
In an instant, Boone went over the top step in his wheelchair and landed face down at the bottom. “It was horrifying,” said Myers. “His forehead is what caught him. His head was bleeding. In that moment, he was unresponsive and wasn’t speaking at all. He appeared to be convulsing, which may have been a reaction to the trauma of the fall.”
Myers rushed him to the Children’s Emergency Center at Palmetto Health. “When we arrived, I was in shock. I just wasn’t sure if he was going to make it,” said Myers. “We were checked in quickly and Boone was taken back to be assessed.”
A team of medical professionals worked to assess Boone and prepare him for testing. “There were three nurses and all of them were great with Boone. They were very cautious and thorough and were able to calm him even though he was in pain. He was taken for X-rays and two skull fractures were found,” said Myers. “The emergency room doctor and the entire medical team were wonderful. They were so kind and reassuring.”
Boone was diagnosed with a severe concussion. He was fitted for a neck brace and admitted to Children’s Hospital overnight for observation.
Pediatric neurosurgeon Stanley Skarli, M.D., examined Boone after he was admitted. “Dr. Skarli educated us about how to protect Boone as he recovered from the concussion. The bruising and swelling went down in about five days and Boone has healed remarkably well,” said Myers.
“Boone wants to do all the things he sees his brother and sister do,” said Myers. One English phrase he has learned quickly is, “I do it myself.”
Skarli continues to provide follow-up care. “Fortunately, we haven’t noted any changes in Boone’s cognitive abilities. We are grateful that no surgery was necessary and that Boone had such good care,” said Myers.
Palmetto Health Children’s Emergency Center celebrated its 20th anniversary in March. It is the only facility in the Midlands that is a designated Level I Trauma Center with a specific focus on pediatric emergencies and has more than 30,000 visits per year. The 13 exam rooms, pediatric resuscitation room and two trauma bays feature customized child-sized technology and equipment.
The Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed with doctors and nurses educated, trained and certified in pediatric emergency medicine. Child Life Specialists provide therapeutic play and help ease anxiety in a colorful family-friendly atmosphere with separate lobby and triage areas. For more information about Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, visit PalmettoHealth.org/ChildrensHospital
About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.