When a young boy woke up from surgery, his nurse was tasked with ensuring he was stable before his mother could be brought to his bedside. After finally being allowed to comfort her frightened son, the mother was stunned to walk in and find the nurse in his hospital bed.
Slade Thompson of Clinton County Pennsylvania wasn’t having an easy year, having to undergo a second surgery in just a matter of months. After having his tonsils removed at UPMC Susquehanna Hospital in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, during his second surgery of the year, the frightened 5-year-old was left in the care of nurse Annie Hager — a medical professional Slade and his mom Layla won’t soon forget.
As Slade underwent the procedure, Layla waited nervously in the waiting room, anxious to see her son so he could feel safe after the scary surgical ordeal. All Layla wanted was to get Slade out of the hospital and back home, where he could rest comfortably in his own bed. But, she knew she had to wait. Before Layla could even see her scared little boy, the nurse assigned to him would have to ensure he was stable and give the mom the green light to go to his bedside.
“He’s been through a lot this last year,” Layla explained. “We had been in the children’s hospital, so we were kind of nervous just going to a hospital to have it done.” Luckily, the surgery went well, and sometime after Slade awoke from the procedure, Layla was finally given the okay to see her son as he recovered in the hospital. “They came out and said, ‘He’s awake,’ and we thought, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” Layla said.
What she saw when she rounded the corner, however, stopped her in her tracks and had her reaching for her phone to snap a photo. Much to the mother’s surprise, Slade wasn’t the only one in his hospital bed. Nurse Annie Hager was curled up beside him, and it was a sight the mother knew she had to capture on camera.
While the team of nurses was checking Slade’s vital signs to ensure he was stable, he had asked for his mom, but Annie, an RN, had to tell the frightened boy that his mother couldn’t come to him just yet. That didn’t sit well with Slade, who wanted to be comforted. So, he asked Annie for a favor. Slade wanted to know if she could step in for him, in place of his mom.
Slade wanted to snuggle, and Annie didn’t hesitate. “When I told him mom couldn’t be there, he asked if I would snuggle him and I said, ‘sure will,'” Annie Hager recalled, and that’s what she was doing when Slade’s mom finally rounded the corner, making all of the mom’s concerns for her son disappear in an instant.
“You want someone to treat your child the way you would treat them, you know, so whenever I turned the corner and saw them, I looked at my fiance and we both went, ‘Aww!’ We both started getting a little teary-eyed,” Layla recalled. The sight moved her so much that she wanted a photo to capture the touching moment. The image was later posted to social media, where it went viral.
“All he wanted was to be snuggled and cared for. Not thinking twice, Annie Hager, RN, climbed right into the bed and snuggled the little boy. As a nurse, providing care is one thing, but making sure our patients are calm and comfortable matters just as much,” the staff at UPMC wrote in a Facebook post accompanying the image. “It’s nurses like Annie — who show true compassion — that keep our patients happy.”
Facebook users heaped praise on the dedicated nurse, who took time out of her busy day to give a patient what he really needed most at the moment — kindness and compassion. But, according to Annie, she was just doing what any of her fellow nurses would have done. “Anyone that works up there would have done the same thing,” she said.
For Slade Thompson and his mom, Annie Hager’s act of kindness is something they will never forget and warranted a special thank-you. When Slade and Layla returned to the hospital for another appointment, they brought a special gift to show their appreciation, giving their new friend flowers and a hug. “I cried, ” Annie admitted. “It’s humbling.”