Pneumonia Pediatric Patient Stories

Deidre Riley Thomson


I recently found myself in the Boston Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, waiting to have my toddler admitted for symptoms of pneumonia, including respiratory distress, high fever and hypoxia (low levels of oxygen). From the get-go, I attempted to keep my imagination in check and acknowledge that for all my son’s discomfort, we would most likely be walking out of the hospital, a little sleep deprived but none the worse for wear, in a matter of days.

I had time to sit, think and observe — and it became clearly apparent that in its years of operation, Children’s has taken very seriously its responsibility to its patients and their families, soliciting and acting on feedback regarding how to make the difficult experience of being in the hospital as comfortable as possible. From the lively, engaging lobby with its ample seating, good food and entertaining displays, to the brightly lit floors with their happy visuals, the hospital does a good job at masking the serious nature of one’s visit.

While it broke my heart that some children are here long enough to merit individually painted windows in their rooms, I appreciate that they were allowed that little touch of humanity. Using small chunks of the hospital budget for things like stocked kitchens on the floors translate to big comfort and convenience for patients. When my son was taken off IV fluids and finally showed an interest in drinking again, it was a relief not to leave him alone at midnight, as there was some milk available a few doors down in the kitchen. The activity rooms on each floor, with their array of toys, books, movies and interactive projects, were a happy reminder of the fun things that childhood should be about.

I hope I never have to have either of my children admitted to Children’s again, but should I need to, I’ll be completely confident that they’re in the best possible place.

Thank you to all involved, for helping give parents that peace of mind.