OR staff crafts quilts to comfort pediatric patients

by Kara Haworth, The Nebraska Medical Center | May 31, 2013

Image with caption: Linda Marcum, left, and Kathy Donovan display quilts made for young medical center patients.

Linda Marcum, left, and Kathy Donovan display quilts made for young medical center patients.

A shift in hospital policy and a group of good-hearted professionals -- with some crafting skills -- has resulted in an effort to brighten the days of young transplant patients at The Nebraska Medical Center.

In February, the medical center's OR nursing team learned that due to recommended practices, they needed to start wearing disposable surgical caps -- not the cloth ones they've been wearing for years.

"We've all accumulated many of these caps over the years," said Linda Marcum, OR staff nurse. "I have ones for every season, and I can remember all the times I wore them."

That's when she got an idea.

"I thought 'I really like these caps. Wouldn't it be cool to make a quilt out of them?'"

"I think it is remarkable the wonderful operating room nurses think so much of our kids. They have limited exposure to our patients, but can have a huge impact on their lives and the lives of their families."

Wendy Grant, M.D.

The quilts, Marcum and her colleagues decided, would then be given to medical center pediatric transplant patients.

Everyone jumped on board, donating money and more than 200 caps. Marcum offered to rip the caps to get them ready, as sewing isn't her thing. "I said 'I'll rip the caps -- just don't give me a sewing machine.'"

Her colleague Kathy Donovan, surgical technologist, together with other staff members, sewed the quilts together. Donovan also belongs to several quilt groups who sewed the backing.

"It was so nice to use the caps," Donovan said. "They made really colorful quilts."

More than 20 quilts have been completed, with more in the works.

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The OR staff displays some of their quilts.

"We hope they can bring some joy or maybe brighten their day," Marcum said. "I have five kids, and a few were really attached to their blankets. We just felt these kids would benefit."

Wendy Grant, M.D., transplant surgeon, was honored to accept the quilts on behalf of her team and patients.

"I think it is remarkable the wonderful operating room nurses think so much of our kids," Dr. Grant said. "They have limited exposure to our patients, but can have a huge impact on their lives and the lives of their families. The operation is just a few hours in the whole transplant process, and I know each patient and parent is treated as if they were the only transplant patient ever."

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Sue Kolb
June 03, 2013 at 8:51 AM

A Quilt is "love" that you can touch. The Med Center is certainly full of love. Sue Kolb

Vickey Cordoba
May 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I remember the days of my Grandson Jesus's Liver Transplant and indeed we did feel like we were the only transplant patients. Items he received during that time were cherished and still are 12 ½ years later. What a wonderful idea this is, I’m sure the patients and their families will be delighted. Thank you to everyone for the extra efforts to make the program what it is! Vickey Cordoba

Karen Pennington
May 31, 2013 at 10:07 AM

This is a great idea coming from giving hearts.

Sheryl Brietzke
May 31, 2013 at 8:15 AM

What a wonderful idea & such a giving thought!! Beautiful results all the way around :)