Setting off for a summer trip to Cape Cod, Kelly and Nick Mohl were looking forward to sun, sand, and quality time with their three children – not a visit to the ER. Shortly after arriving, their son Caden wasn’t himself. The usually boisterous nine-year-old was quiet and lethargic. The family headed to an urgent care provider, where they were told it was likely a virus and to keep Caden hydrated.
In the middle of the night, Caden woke his parents–he felt very sick and struggled to breathe. Terrified, Kelly and Nick called 911 and Caden was rushed to a local hospital. It was there the family learned Caden had type 1 diabetes and was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma or even death.
Kelly was crushed and afraid – her father had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes many years ago and ultimately passed away from complications. After failed attempts to bring Caden’s blood sugar down, he was transported by ambulance to Boston Medical Center.
“We were getting stuck in traffic, and Caden was incoherent at that point,” said Kelly. “The paramedics kept trying to keep him awake to make sure he didn’t slip into a coma. It was beyond scary.”
At BMC, Caden was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit where he was stabilized. He was then moved to an inpatient unit, where the family would spend the next six days. It was there that a special nurse entered the picture – Mary Ellen McDonough.
“This angel from above met us at our room,” says Kelly. “I immediately clicked with Mary Ellen. I was stressed, scared, and had a million questions – she was so patient with me.”
Mary Ellen bonded immediately with the family, who was dealing with the tough diagnosis and being far from their home in Albany, NY. “I was trying to process Caden’s diagnosis, and I didn’t know what to do. I knew something about diabetes from my dad, but it’s different when it’s your kid. Mary Ellen gave us comfort the entire time we were at BMC,” Kelly said.
Mary Ellen went above and beyond, even staying past her shift some nights to ensure the family was comfortable and had everything they needed. She taught the family how to give Caden injections and provided other tips on caring for him once they got home. At one point, Caden even drew a picture of Mary Ellen wearing a cape with an “S” because “Mary Ellen is a superhero!”
Today, Caden’s diabetes is well-managed and he is active on his school football team. Kelly says that while there are challenging days, the family remains grateful for the care and comfort they received. The family recently visited Boston, where they reunited with Mary Ellen (now retired) over dinner and donated a number of toys to the hospital.
“Being brought to BMC was a blessing. If it weren’t for the team there, we never would’ve made it through that week,” says Kelly.
Support lifesaving care for patients like Caden and so much more with a donation to Boston Medical Center today.