Story submitted by Transport Team Member, Melissa Weick (photo below)
Tony’s* transport to a behavioral facility the day before was canceled because he had become so violent. It was up to my team to get him to the specialized care he needed. Chatting with his nurses, I found out that even though Tony was 16 years old and stood about 6'3", the severely autistic boy was functioning at a second grade level. So, I brought stickers and coloring books and talked to him about where we were headed. He thought nobody wanted him. He simply said, "I don’t want to go there. Please don’t make me go."
To give him more control over the situation, I let him make some choices—whether he would walk to the MICU or lie on a stretcher and who would sit where during the transport. The trip went smoothly. As he tearfully walked inside, I noticed that he didn’t have any shoes on. Because he didn’t own any.
This last injustice seemed too much. Our job was done, but I said to my team,"Let’s find the nearest shoe store."
The intake manager at his new facility was shocked when we walked back in there with a pair of shoes. But I wanted Tony to know that somebody cared about him.
Later I found out that Tony completed his program and was able to go home, which was all he wanted. His family received support and counseling through the same program. Tony later won a coloring contest through Children's and received tickets to attend a Rams game with his mom. I often think about Tony and his mom—I hope that they are doing well and that we were able to make a difficult time a little easier for them.
*Not patient's real name.