Pediatric Stories

CAY Alma Family Photo


One of the family.

The best thing about HCMC, according to Alma de Cortez, is that we treat everyone like family. It's why she chose to have her three kids here and continues to bring them to the Pediatric Clinic for ongoing care. Enrique, Sergio, and Samantha value their close relationships with primary care provider and Nurse Practitioner Holly Pike, who makes them feel comfortable and cared for at each visit. "I saw the caring and attention they gave me and my kids, and it inspired me to give back," said Alma, who also volunteers at HCMC. She dedicates time at the on-site Food Shelf as well as the Children's Summer Meal Program, which provides free breakfast and lunch to kids in the downtown campus cafeteria. Alma refers to the kids she serves as her kids, too. "I enjoy talking to them and seeing them laugh, smile, and be happy."

CAY Michelle & Abigail Photo


Getting the Answers I Need

Michelle Hodurski came to HCMC for help after failing to find relief for her knee issues at other healthcare facilities. And she has been coming back ever since, not only for her own healthcare needs but also for those of her three children. Abigail, her youngest, is a part of the Health Care Home program in the downtown Pediatric Clinic, which helps to coordinate her care as a child with Down syndrome. She says HCMC stands out from other systems because, "They really listen here. The doctors know that I am with Abigail more than anyone else so they value my opinion. They take my feedback into consideration when making plans and recommendations." Michelle especially values her relationship with Abigail’s primary care physician: "I can walk in there with 25 things to ask him about and he always takes the time to answer every single one."


Whole Again

Troske FamilyAt 8 weeks old, Megan – the littlest member of the Troske family – suffered an accidental fall and was rushed to HCMC. The bleeding in her brain required emergency surgery and treatment in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). For Megan’s parents, Mark and Kim, and big sister Katie, “The PICU was a home away from home to us, and the PICU staff like an extended family. When we think of HCMC we think of the amazing people who used both medicine and compassion to save Megan and make our family whole again. You can put a price tag on a prescription or a ventilator, but we valued beyond measure the gentle touches, the nicknames, and the sweet whispers the HCMC staff brought to Megan’s bedside.” Today Megan is a sweet and spirited 11 month old who is meeting her developmental milestones and showing few signs of the trauma she had endured. And while she may be this family’s littlest member, she fills a large part of their heart.


Lidia Angeles Ayala

Someone I Can Turn to

Being a teenager isn’t easy for anyone, but for Lidia Angeles Ayala, it can be especially difficult at times. Lidia deals with a variety of chronic health conditions that make her life very complicated. However, Lidia knows she can always turn to her Health Care Home Care Coordinator at the Pediatric Clinic to help her sort things out. Her Care Coordinator is the vital link between Lidia and her array of health care providers, who work together with Lidia and her family to help her stay well and meet her personal and health goals. Lidia describes her Care Coordinator as "funny and caring and loving," and says she always starts out each visit by giving Lidia a big hug and asking her how she’s been. "She makes me feel welcome at HCMC and that she is happy to see me. That makes me want to keep coming here and gives me hope."



Having a Blast

Four-year-old Sean Shultz and his mom, Heather, have come to HCMC every week for the past few years to work on his speech disorder. From the very start, "Miss Mary," as Sean calls his speech-language pathologist, has helped him stay in control of his own health care. "Even at his age!" Heather marvels. "And that's the most important thing to me as his mother." Mary lets Sean take the lead, tailoring his sessions to his mood and energy on that day. That way, he stays interested and engaged as they work on producing sounds and saying things correctly and consistently. "He always has a blast and doesn't realize he is learning," said his mom. "It’s amazing to see." 


Dr. Kiragu

Helping Futures Unfold

Dr. Andrew Kiragu can't see into the future, but he knows that the children he cares for in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit have the potential for full and rewarding lives. "What I do, I do so I can watch their futures unfold," he says. He works hard every day to save lives and keep his young patients at the center of everything he does. He is always amazed by what they become and what talents, accomplishments, and contributions their futures hold.


Tisha and Bernie

It's Worth It

Though the drive here can take up to an hour, Tisha Sherdan chooses Hennepin County Medical Center for herself and her now four-month-old son, Bernie. In the midst of Bernie's long stay at the hospital after being born at only 24 weeks, it was clear to Tisha that she made the right choice. Unable to hold her new baby until he was stable, Tisha was grateful that his health care providers kept her connected to him in other ways: by allowing her to take his temperature, change his diaper, and clean his ears. "They really care about their patients," Tisha says of HCMC. By involving her in Bernie’s care, even for the little things, and always keeping mother and son at the center, "They go above and beyond," Tisha says. And that is why she goes the distance to get here.