AJ GriffithParent Blog

Mandy Griffith
North Liberty, Iowa

Mandy had to make “nerve-racking, gut-wrenching” decisions about her daughter AJ’s care during the pandemic. The expertise, professionalism, and compassion of the team at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital left her convinced that she had made the right choice. Mandy shares her story:

Our first involvement with UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital was in September 2019. AJ was just not herself—lethargic, refusing liquid and solid foods, “junky” cough, and a fever. We made the trip to the emergency room, and AJ would end up getting admitted for two days, due to a diagnosis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

While she seemed to be getting better, her cough never quite went away. Fast forward to the first week of February 2020 and AJ was admitted again, but for three different viruses this time: the common human coronavirus, parainfluenza, and RSV once again.

My sweet girl was out for about 24 hours before being readmitted for pneumonia.

Different treatments and medications were attempted, but her cough and “junkiness” just wouldn’t go away. It was a CT scan in mid-March (near the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak) that confirmed a growing mediastinal mass in her chest, which was starting to bump up against her heart and one of her lungs.

Her initial appointment with our wonderful pediatric surgeon, Joel Shilyansky, MD, was two days later, and she went into surgery to remove the mass less than one week after the CT scan. I was consistently updated during her surgery, and all of her care team members spoke to me in a way that I could understand, while maintaining the extreme detail that I desired.

From her first stay at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital to (hopefully!) her last, I can't speak highly enough about how everything was handled!

Putting the life of my child in someone else’s hands was a very nerve-racking, gut-wrenching ordeal for me, especially with her being so young AND during the outbreak of COVID-19. However, I never had a single shred of doubt in her care team at any point in the process, and their professionalism, while maintaining the utmost compassion, is unparalleled.

As a fully single parent to my daughter, the choices I make for her rest solely upon my shoulders. I hope that you never need to be in my position, but if you’re going to trust someone with the life of your child, make the right choice and trust in the staff at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

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