Brave Young Patient Receives Care Across Specialties

Melissa Heddy would do anything to keep one of her children from feeling pain. When her son Kevin McGuire, 5, had an accident on his three-wheeler riding toy, she felt helpless.

“It broke my heart,” Heddy said.

McGuire was at his aunt’s house in Mayfield, when the accident happened. Heddy, who was at work at the time, received a call from McGuire’s dad and met them at their local hospital.

The initial thought—that McGuire broke his arm and nothing more—soon turned into a more complex medical issue. McGuire was diagnosed with a supracondylar fracture, and there were concerns about the location of the break and the potential impacts to Kevin’s brachial artery, the main artery in the arm.

Timely Access to Care

McGuire was airlifted by medical helicopter to Albany Medical Center. There, he received care at the only Level 1 pediatric trauma center in the region. The trauma team at Albany Medical Center specializes in treating the most severe and complex traumatic injuries in a 25-county area of New York and western New England. When a child or teenager has a traumatic injury, the team conducts a rapid assessment and alerts and assembles the multiple specialties needed to provide care.

Two hours after arriving at Albany Medical Center, McGuire was ready for surgery, which was performed by Abigail Mantica, MD, the only fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the Capital Region.

“Kevin was extremely brave, but it was clear that we needed to get him into surgery quickly,” Dr. Mantica said. “We were able to set the bone in the proper position, place pins to keep the bone in the right place and provide the proper observation post-surgery to make sure he was comfortable when he left the hospital the next day.”

One week after surgery, McGuire saw Dr. Mantica again when a hard cast was placed on his arm. Within three weeks, he returned to Dr. Mantica’s office at the Bone & Joint Center in Albany to have the cast and pins removed.

Heddy described Dr. Mantica as “absolutely wonderful”—one of the many positive experiences Heddy had during an incredibly stressful day and experience for her and her son. She praised the nurses at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital who provided expert pediatric care for McGuire following his surgery.

“It was always Kevin first,” Heddy said. “They took their time with him and made him feel comfortable as a patient.”

Recovering Post-Surgery 

Brady Nichols, RN, was part of the nursing team that cared for McGuire following his surgery.

“Kevin had such a positive attitude,” Nichols said. “He was smiling and making jokes the whole time.”

“I love being the difference that you can make in somebody’s life,” Nichols said about his job. “I want to be there to help someone whenever I can.”

In the weeks after his injury, as he continued to recover, McGuire helped his tee ball team out as their ball boy and equipment manager. And,  he now wants to be a helicopter pilot after being airlifted to the hospital.

“He’s my superhero,” Heddy said. “Kevin did as well as a 5-year-old could do when something like this happens. I’m so proud of him.”