Moments That Matter

Happy ending for CHH Labor and Delivery nurse

Photo by Chris Rakoczy

When Melissa Beecher went to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) to deliver a stillborn son, she knew the only things she’d bring home would be plaster molds of his tiny feet and hands and a blanket that briefly swaddled him.

In late 2017, Melissa’s baby, Cameron, died in utero a short time after an ultrasound diagnosed a devastating heart defect. A CHH labor and delivery nurse, she knew what to expect with this dreaded delivery and wanted to help other families faced with such loss.

Melissa learned about Cuddle Cots, a cooling system that allows families to spend a little more time with newborns who do not survive. About six months after losing Cameron, she shared her story on GoFundMe and asked friends and family to help her buy one for CHH, where she has worked for almost 10 years. Within 24 hours, she had raised more than $5,000. In total, she raised enough to buy two Cuddle Cots, one each for CHH and UConn, which cares for many high-risk pregnant women.

She also created kits with materials to make plaster hand and footprints, a lap blanket and keepsake necklace for mom, a blanket to wrap the baby in, and a keychain for dads. The kits are on the Labor and Delivery unit. “I was prepared,” she said. “But for many people, (an infant loss) is totally unexpected.” Melissa’s story has a happy ending. On April 18, she, her husband and older sister Hannah, 6, welcomed identical twin girls, Ayla and Bailey. She was also honored as a Connecticut Hospital Association HealthCare Hero.

—Hilary Waldman

If the slipper fits: Nurse donates surgical socks

Photo by Jeff Evans

Did you know Hartford HealthCare uses roughly 319,390 slipper socks every year? For Roxanne Wasilko, an outpatient surgical nurse at Backus Hospital, it didn’t seem like those socks get a lot of mileage. Many are worn for a few hours while patients undergo minor procedures.

When a patient asked if she could keep the socks to wash and donate, Roxanne had an idea. With her managers’ approval, she asked other nurses to help.

“It’s a lot of waste. I wanted to do something about it,” said Roxanne, who’s worked at Backus for 25 years.

They set up donation boxes. Every week, Roxanne takes the donations home to launder. Since July, she has collected more than 225 pairs. Her first donation went to St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich.

—Emily Gravell

Every day, our team does amazing things to benefit patients and the community. Email us your moments that matter.

Email Susan McDonald