State: New Haven, CT
Facility: Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital
Sawyer was admitted to Yale – New Haven Children’s Hospital after a lawnmower accident amputated his left toes. During his inpatient stay, Sawyer underwent a total of eight trips to the operating room (OR) for numerous debridements, wash outs of the wound, and changing and placement of the wound VAC. During those eight trips to the OR, Sawyer was not able to eat for hours on end. Despite this, he remained his active self, taking mini adventures around the hospital in his wheelchair.
Sawyer was very open when talking about or playing out his accident. He and his brother were found in the playroom acting out the accident (one being the lawn mower the other being the foot) or stating, “my piggies are gone”. Through medical play and preparation with his Child Life Specialist, Sawyer exhibited strong coping mechanisms and understanding that his boo boo would take a lot of time to heal.
Throughout processing this traumatic event and experiencing a lengthy hospitalization, Sawyer exhibited strong and brave character. He was so resilient and active, always ready to engage in playgroups with his peers, crawling around on the floor when mom or dad would turn their head, wheeling around in his chair, and hanging out watching “Toy Story” and “Cars”.
Sawyer was discharged with his wound VAC in place, and then returned as an outpatient once a week for 3 weeks to have his bandage and VAC changed while awake. Although fearful of being awake and in pain, he did a wonderful job and successfully completed each procedure without any anesthesia.
Sawyer has a long road to recovery and will continue to face more hospital visits for surgery, a skin graft, wound VAC placements and changes, fitting for prosthetic shoe fillers and physical therapy to relearn how to balance and walk. The Child Life team finds it an absolute privilege to know this exceptional little boy and his caring and strong-willed family. Sawyer has touched my hearts in ways he may never know and is without a doubt a true hero.