Friday, December 4, 2009

MGH volunteer helps save local boy


Greg Walsh, an MGH volunteer, was walking home along Charles Street when he first heard the cries.

At first, he didn't think much of the noise coming from the other side of the street. But when he looked again, he saw that a woman who seemed to be the mother of the crying boy was struggling to run down the street with him in her arms. Walsh crossed over to help. As he approached, asking if he could help carry the boy, he realized the child had several severe cuts on his arms and wrists and was losing blood quickly.

The mother agreed to let Walsh carry her son. She instructed him to keep the child's arm elevated to slow the bleeding. Knowing exactly where to take the boy, Walsh began running down Charles Street toward the MGH as fast as he could. The child's mother followed closely behind.

"After we had sprinted about a half a mile, my legs started to feel like jello," says Walsh. "But in my head I knew I could not stop with this boy -- whose name I still didn't know at the time -- because the amount of blood he was losing could mean the difference between life and death."

Walsh would later learn the boy's name was Quinn Cousineau, and his mother was Laura. Four-year-old Quinn had slipped while trying to push open a store door. The glass pane had shattered and his arm had gone right through.

Walsh raced into the MGH Emergency Room, where he and Quinn were met by throughput nurse Marlena Dipre, RN. Emergency Services staff members Chris DePesa, RN, and Mindy Sherman, MD, provided initial care for Quinn, along with Lorrie Jacobsohn, RN, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist. Surgical fellows Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, and Tiffany Chao, MD, MPH, treated him with a total of 26 external and nine internal stitches.

After Quinn was treated, Dipre brought Walsh in to see how the little boy was doing. Overcome with relief, Cousineau and Walsh stood at Quinn's bed, crying and hugging one another.

"The scene brought a tear or two to this veteran emergency nurse's eyes," says Dipre.

"Greg is a hero, as are each of the MGH staff members who cared for Quinn," says Cousineau. "My husband and I are so thankful for their help."

For his service and compassion, Walsh received an Excellence in Action Award from MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, on Nov. 3.

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