Being a mother means that no matter what life hands you, you’re forever tied to these little souls you created. When they’re little, they’re with you 24/7, needing your love and attention at all times — which is understandable, yet not always easy, especially when you’re sick. But as one mother in Hamilton, New Zealand recently learned after being admitted to the hospital for a treatment, it’s in those very moments that the village steps in. And sometimes, your “village” comes in the form of a hardworking ER doctor who happens to love kids.
The sweet story was shared in a recent Facebook post by Waikato Hospital, along with a photo of emergency room consultant Dr. Muir Wallace who was holding the unnamed patient’s sleeping baby for nearly an hour while simultaneously doing his job.
“The little guy was here with his mum and badly needed a snooze,” the post caption read. “Sadly, his mum was unwell and needed some tests.”
As a mother of three myself, my heart immediately went out to this anonymous mom. To be worrying about your baby’s care on top of your own wellbeing at a time like that is stressful; but to be cared for in a hospital where the staff literally goes the extra mile is certainly reassuring.
Apparently, though, this sort of thing is totally part of the daily grind for the Waikato Hospital staff.
“This kind of thing occurs fairly frequently in our (and I would imagine all) Emergency Departments,” Kathryn Jenkin, Manager of Communications and Media for Waikato Hospital tells Babble. “People don’t plan on becoming unwell or having accidents and will often arrive with children. It’s not unusual for our staff to step up in this way whilst waiting for other family to arrive. Small babies such as this one do tend to get a lot of attention (and competition for cuddles!). So not an unusual situation but the photo was just so perfect we couldn’t not share.”
The photo that’s gone viral shows Dr. Wallace holding the snoozing baby on his shoulder (cue the “awws”!) and has captured the hearts of Facebook users all over the world for its wonderful example of compassion and decency.
Jenkin explains that the baby was desperately in need of a nap, and while other members staff stepped up to offer warm arms and kind smiles, he was having none of it.
“Some of the nursing staff tried to soothe the baby but got called away,” says Jenkin, “so [the] next pair of available hands was Muir who happened to be working at the computer. He says it took a few minutes for [the] baby to calm down and he had [the] baby for around half an hour or so.”
According to Jenkins, the culture at Waikato Hospital is one of compassion and empathy — as it is (and should be) at many other hospitals.
“I think it would be fair to say that anyone who works in health does [so] because they care about their patients and want to make a difference and help,” she notes.
I hope the mom in this story was calmed by the knowledge that her sweet child was well tended to while she was being seen by medical staff. And thank goodness for kind doctors like Dr. Wallace!