Acts of Kindness

This Doctor Did Surgery On This Boy's Adorable Teddy Bear

October 25th, 2018

Do you remember the first time you went to the hospital?

For the absolute luckiest of us, maybe we’ve never ever been. For everyone else though, we probably remember the first time like it was yesterday. Needless to say, it can be a scary experience to have a serious medical issue that you need help with—especially when you’re a little kid. If you went in for some kind of surgery as a child, the chances are that you brought some kind of comfort item in there with you. If it wasn’t a blankie, it was your favorite stuffed animal (and best friend).

But what happens if your stuffed animal has a health issue that needs addressing as well?

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Although it may seem unusual, that was the question that one little boy in Halifax, Canada asked his doctor.

It all happened when eight-year-old Jackson McKie was scheduled to get surgery to have a shunt removed. For those who don’t know, a shunt is a hollow tube that is generally placed in the brain or the spine to help drain cerebrospinal fluid to another part of the body. Because of the nature of the treatment, it’s a relatively serious surgery, and the responsibility of a qualified pediatric neurosurgeon.

McKie’s surgeon that day was Dr. Daniel McNeely.

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After being wheeled into the unit, McKie asked Dr. McNeely about his teddy bear.

After a quick examination, Dr. McNeely noticed that the teddy bear has a pretty serious tear under his arm. Just as McKie said, the little bear would need to have emergency surgery as well. Fortunately, the doctor was more than up to the task—though McKie had to be sedated first.

As the anesthesiologist was putting McKie under, Dr. McNeely went to work.

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He began by getting everything he needed in place.

First he got some surgical scissors, tweezers, sewing thread and a needle. He laid out a sheet over a side table and carefully put the bear on it. Finally, he even put a neonatal oxygen mask over the bear’s face—to keep the bear anonymous, he said. Working slowly and steadily, Dr. McNeely carefully sewed up McKie’s little teddy bear: the operation was a success.

Of course, he still had McKie’s own surgery to do!

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Fortunately for everyone at the hospital that day, both procedures were successful—and McKie woke up to a fully repaired bear.

After the incident occurred, Dr. McNeely decided to post a tweet about the experience online. It quickly drew a lot of attention. As of print, it’s now at more than 19,000 retweets and nearly 44,000 likes.

All jokes aside, the story captured the world’s attention due to the sensitivity and sweetness with which Dr. McNeely handled the situation.

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Going to the doctor for serious surgery is a frightening experience, no matter what our age.

Although we get used to serious moments and other intense health visits as we get older, being a kid is an overwhelming experience at times. Because health care is such a major industry, it can be tempting for doctors and nurses to treat us all like numbers on a spreadsheet rather than individuals. When there are kids involved, it’s especially important that they go out of their way to make them comfortable.

Fortunately in this case, everyone made McKie’s visit as pleasant as it could be.

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McKie’s surgery was related to hydrocephalus, a fluid accumulation in the brain.

As a result of his condition, McKie was suffering from bad headaches. By bringing his teddy bear, Little Baby, with him, he got all the bravery he needed to face his procedure directly. For his part, Little Baby was also brave to go under the knife that day to support his friend! Above all, this story is a great reminder of the things we can accomplish when we show one another kindness and consideration. After all, if I had to get the surgery that McKie was having that day, I would most definitely bring a stuffed animal with me as well!

Special thanks to Dr. McNeely for being so kind-hearted in a tough situation—and best of luck to Jason and Little Baby on a swift recovery!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Sources: CBC, Twitter, 9Gag