a Richard Scarry moment in the Children's Hospital

Last week, when I was attending on the in-patient unit for just a couple of days, I had one of the most joyous experiences ever. I need to share it with you.

A little 2 year old boy, who had been in the hospital for several days with a perplexing disease process, was starting to get better (always a joyous experience in and of itself). When I brought the team into his room that morning, he was sitting with his grandmother in the window seat,  eagerly looking out of the window and pointing to vehicles, people and other items he saw there.

As we were talking with his family, and discussing the plans for the day, the little boy heard the sounds of an approaching helicopter. His face lit up and he excitedly pointed up up up in the sky as the medevac helicopter flew overhead. He called it a "heppy-copter" and also a "flying doctor".  Then he saw a bus on the street below, several cars, a truck, and a VERY LONG train. Then an ambulance, some other trucks (of different colors) then a school bus, a baby carriage, a policeman (well it was a security officer), a motorcycle and....

Well, you get the picture.

I felt as if I was in a moving version of one of Richard Scarry's books. It was so adorable. Of course most of my students and residents had never heard of Richard Scarry, but he was a big part of my children's early years, and so was probably a part of theirs as well, but they didn't know his name. He wrote and illustrated wonderful books that used every day objects, especially vehicles and occupations, to engage with and teach children.

The few moments in this child's room brought joy and laughter not only to the family members of the child, but to every member of the health care team rounding that morning. It showed us how our little patient was returning toward normal, and as I said as we were preparing to leave the room, all of us laughing and smiling:

"This is why I am a pediatrician"

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Recent Comments

Richard Scarry was always one of my favorite authors. I am much older than my youngest brothers and we used to spend hours reading his books, searching the pictures. The tradition continued with my daughter. It was always amazing the number of places 'Lowly Worm' could hide!

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

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