Doctors, nurses, social workers and Child Life specialists at Cohen Children’s Medical Center pulled out all the stops this spring to make sure a 13-year-old patient was not going to miss out on a prom just because of a brief hospital stay.
Stacy McGeechan, MD, described her patient, Itzia Argueta of Uniondale, LI, as “the happiest child on the floor.” But one day the doctor was shocked to find Itzia sobbing. A brief conversation revealed that her prom was the next day and the eighth-grader was going to miss out on celebrating the big event with her friends from Turtle Hook Middle School in Uniondale while undergoing tests at the hospital.
Armed with that information, Dr. McGeechan mobilized her team, who transformed the third floor playroom into a colorful party setting. Itzia’s family supplied a new party dress and told her she would be dressing up for fun. Her mother, Silvia; father, Henry; 19-year-old sister Erika; and 8-year-old brother Steve were all in on the secret and were thrilled to help organize the special event.
In a room crowded with fellow patients, doctors, nurses, social workers, reporters and photographers, an astonished Itzia was greeted by blaring music and a round of applause. While a nurse placed a tiara on her head, Itzia’s prom date, Dr. Greg Rosner (also one of her physicians) stepped forward and presented her with a wristlet corsage.
Speaking in Spanish, Itzia’s parents thanked the entire hospital staff for the wonderful care their daughter was receiving. Munching on a handful of donuts, Steve said that his sister looked very beautiful and that this was a wonderful day. Wiping away tears with her handkerchief, Itzia was often too emotional to speak.
“This is by far the best prom I’ve ever attended,” said Dr. Rosner, dressed in a black suit and snappy bow-tie and looking like a prom date straight out of Central Casting.
“I could never have imagined a more beautiful day,” Itzia said. “I am having a wonderful time at my prom.”
Read the next article in the Winter 2015 issue of Kids First: Complex Surgery Gives Newborn a Good Start in Life