Our Spokeschild

Photo : Natasha D Photographie

Healing Mother and Child Under One Roof

With the collaboration of Christine Bouthillier

In life, things don’t always go as planned. Stefanie, Salvatore, and their son, Alessandro, know that firsthand. Luckily, good things can happen too, and provide much needed hope and comfort. This story highlights the achievements of our generous donors and the dedicated teams at The Children’s and the Glen site, a true teaching hospital centre for the whole family.

In September 2021, little Alessandro had a fall at home. His worried parents brought him to The Children’s, only to learn he had fluid buildup between the membranes in his brain and would require surgery. The news came as a shock for the family, because the mother was expected at a Montreal hospital for induced labour. The situation couldn’t have been worse.

Seeing the parents’ distress, the team at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) took matters into their own hands. They bent over backward to be sure both mother and child could receive care under the same roof. Their efforts were successful: Mom’s transfer to the Glen was authorized, which brought her closer to Son. It helped Father avoid going back and forth between two hospitals. The surgery wasn’t easy to coordinate, but it was a relief for the whole family.

A few days later, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer determined there was still liquid in Alessandro’s brain and would need another surgery. The parents were once again in shock. They informed Dr. Farmer that Alessandro was already waiting for an abdominal hernia operation. Everyone at The Children’s mobilized: Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer and his team wanted to resolve both problems under the same anesthesia, sparing the child a third surgery.

That’s the magic of The Children’s Foundation’s donors. Every year, their donations support the surgical teams and help purchase state-of-the-art equipment that permits several procedures in a single operating room. After many phone calls, discussions, and text messages, Dr. Farmer was able to proceed with the surgery. General surgeon Dr. Sherif Emil then performed the hernia operation. The two Children’s experts worked in shifts in a single operating room to efficiently solve the sick child’s problems and make life easier for the family.

Every detail surrounding the procedure was sorted in under 24 hours: coordinating the busy schedules of the specialists and their teams, planning for use of the equipment, and ensuring the care team could treat the young patient. This remarkable feat was possible thanks to our donors’ generosity. A few days later, Alessandro left the Hospital at the same time as his mom and his little brother. The family, reunited once again, could finally heal together at home and return to normal after an emotional roller coaster.