Inspire Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 29

CELEBRATING AS PARENTS THEY WERE OF Kaua‘i's Keiki SEVEN, PREPARED MEL AND TO WELCOME PAULINE VENTURA THEIR THOUGHT EIGHTH Na Keiki O Kaua`i Baby Wall. CHILD INTO THE WORLD. PAULINE'S PREGNANCY WAS HAPPILY UNEVENTFUL, AND WHEN THE TIME CAME, THEY HEADED DOWN TO WILCOX MEDICAL CENTER ON KAUA`I. BUT IN JUST MOMENTS, EVERYTHING CHANGED. "I dropped my wife, Pauline, at the door, then went to park our car," Mel recalled. "When I got back to the hospital, she was already delivering our daughter. Unfortunately, our baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck." The staff at Wilcox was able to deliver baby Sara safely. And after about a week under observation in an incubator, she was able to go home. That was in 1978. But those frightening moments almost 40 years ago still touched people when Mel Ventura shared his story at the blessing of a new donor recognition wall. The Wilcox Family Tree offers families making a gift to Wilcox the opportunity to honor babies and children connected to the medical center. As their only child born at Wilcox, Sara Ventura's name was part of the wall when it was established as the Na Keiki O Kaua`i Baby Wall. She is now an adult working as a case manager in health care. Dad Mel was a foundation board member when that first wall was completed and says his personal story is just one reason why he continues to support Wilcox. "We must have this type of expert care," Mel said. "We are far removed from other islands and other medical facilities. Fortunately, we have strong pediatric physicians and specialists." On average, 500 children are born every year at Wilcox. Donations raised from the Family Tree will go toward pediatric service needs specifically related to maternity, labor and delivery, and infant care. The funding will help purchase important patient care items including baby bassinets, blanket warmers, cribs, labor beds, equipment for hearing tests, fetal monitor system and infant Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines that assist babies with breathing. “In 35 years, I’ve seen the growth of Wilcox and how it has become central to all of our lives here on Kaua`i,” said Dr. Geri Young, chief medical officer at Kaua`i Medical Clinic. “Over time, and especially after Hurricane `Iniki, all of our physicians decided to share the call schedule to service the hospital. With that crossover coverage, we have gotten to know our colleagues’ pediatric patients and feel invested in their well-being. Adding to that comradery and confidence, donors have generously provided us the tools we need to offer a robust pediatric and OB/GYN program.” Mel Ventura Nicki Lee (on left) with fellow ambassadors at Spotlight on Kidz. 29