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Patients in the Spotlight: Lizzy Balliette

Hospital Stay Inspires Family to Give Back

Lizzy BallietteOn a Sunday in February 2012, Dave and Jen Balliette noticed that their daughter Lizzy was having difficulty breathing. Just 12 days old, Lizzy was showing normal symptoms of a cold – a high temperature, stuffy nose, nasal flaring – but her labored breathing was particularly worrisome. As her symptoms grew worse, Lizzy’s parents called her local on-call pediatrician in Geneva and were told to wait until Monday to come in for an appointment.

Later that night, however, Dave and Jen grew very concerned about Lizzy’s breathing and took her to the local Emergency Room. They were told that she may have a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and needed to be transported to Golisano Children’s Hospital by ambulance.

“It was a traumatic experience seeing your 12-day-old daughter have to be put into an ambulance and riding with her to the hospital,” said Jen.

Although RSV is a common virus that leads to cold-like symptoms in older children and adults, it can be serious if contracted by infants. The virus spreads through tiny droplets in the air that are present from coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. Outbreaks of the infection usually begin in the fall and run into the spring.

Balliette FamilyLizzy was admitted to the 4-1600 unit at the children’s hospital for RSV. She was given oxygen, had a breathing tube inserted, and was hooked up to an IV. “It was scary to see your baby hooked up to machines, but we were so glad that we were at the children’s hospital,” said Jen. “The nurses and everyone were so welcoming and we got wonderful care.”

The family stayed in the unit for four nights and five days until Lizzy was released.

Lizzy’s family decided to give back to Golisano Children’s Hospital, in the form of a golf tournament. In its first year, the “Tee Off Fore Kids” event raised $3,000.

Dave and Jen intend to donate the money raised at the event to updating patient and family playrooms. “It was comforting to know that siblings had the option of going to an engaging environment where they felt comfortable,” said Jen. “We would love to be able to freshen up the rooms with new toys and materials so families can continue to share that feeling.”

Wendy Lane, program coordinator of Child Life at Golisano Children’s Hospital, said, “The addition of new toys and developmentally appropriate materials will help keep children of all ages engaged in play in our hospital.”

“We greatly appreciate the family’s support.”

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