Once upon a time a five-year old princess known only as "the Skink" was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) because of pneumonia, caused by an ugly green troll. She suffered from insufficient oxygen in her bloodstream, and required a technique known as "high flow" oxygen delivery to ensure enough oxygen was getting into her blood to be delivered to the critical tissues-brain, heart, lungs, GI tract, kidneys. She nearly needed help breathing with a ventilator, but this was avoided due to diligent care provided by the staff. As she got better, she was reluctant to get up and move around. Walking, running and playing are necessary to get children (and princesses) to take deep breaths and clear their lungs. But having a troll in your lungs can make you very tired and weak.
The pneumonia troll was trying to keep this little princess in bed, fighting all attempts to get her out and moving. No amount of cajoling, pleading or bribery would work. Not for all the gold in the kingdom would this young princess get up and walk. So the staff in the PICU had to think of something, to save their princess from the ugly troll threatening her recovery.
They performed the magic spell of the dancing doc.
The Skink's' mother, otherwise known as the Queen, captured the magic on her cell phone, so you can see it.
First, the medical student engaged the princess in singing her favorite song
[flv:http://www.carilionclinic.org/blogs/ackerman/files/2011/11/single_ladies... 480 360]
Then the student, the attending doctor, nurses, respiratory therapist and physical therapist joined in a circle and the young princess was freed of the pneumonia troll in response to the magical music. She rose up and started to move, dance, sing, jump, and most importantly, laugh.
[flv:http://www.carilionclinic.org/blogs/ackerman/files/2011/11/group_dance.flv 480 360]
The troll returned to his hiding place under the Mill Mountain, and the young princess was able to return to her own castle, where, still a bit weak, she will live happily ever after.
Seriously, folks, have you ever seen such magic?
This is proof that effective medicine cannot be achieved with medication and monitors alone. Connecting with your patient is everything. I am so proud of the team in the PICU for doing what they needed to do to get this little girl to engage and participate in her own recovery.
Many thanks, also to her mom who shared these videos with us. You can read more about the Skink's time at the Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital PICU by visiting the Queen's own blog. P.S. The troll's name is VIRUS. He remains at large.