Eight-year-old Annabel Beam was on a quest to find the perfect gift. During a 2010 trip from her Texas home to Boston Children’s Hospital, she asked her Mom to stop at the airport gift shop before boarding the plane.
Annabel perused the aisles, examining each item in the hope of finding a token of appreciation for her gastroenterologist, Dr. Samuel Nurko, director of the Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center.
Annabel spotted a cuddly teddy bear wearing blue doctors’ scrubs. She reached for the bear, squeezed its arm, and a musical rendition of “Doctor, Doctor, give me the news…” began to play.
Annabel’s grin spread from ear to ear. “I want to give this to Dr. Nurko, Mommy,” said Annabel.
The teddy bear symbolized the kindness and hope Nurko shared with Annabel while she managed the rare and chronic gastrointestinal condition pseudo-obstruction. And it remains a symbol of the long-lasting bond between Nurko and his young patient.
“It was a very touching moment,” Nurko says of the day he received the teddy bear. “I keep the bear in my office, and he watches over me.”
This was one of many trips to Boston Children’s to treat Annabel’s chronic and often debilitating condition.
Tim’s first few weeks of life were hard, on both him and his parents.
Born with various medical concerns, including a lack of the sucking and swallowing reflex—the instinctual way babies know how to suck and swallow milk—he had a hard time getting all the nutrients he needed. To help him thrive he was fitted with a gastric feeding tube (G-tube) that delivered formula directly to his stomach. But even with his tube, Tim still had problems with severe reflux. It puzzled his local doctors and pained his parents who were at a loss as to how they could comfort their son.
“It’s heartbreaking to have a child in pain and not be able to do anything,” says Tim’s mother Stephanie. “You feel so powerless.” …