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Child's Fears Cast Aside


Superior care team in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center causes a young girl’s anxiety to disappear

When Ava Barbadora, 8, landed on her arm the wrong way while out with family in Boston, she was overcome with fear. The tears began immediately, and her father, Jeff Barbadora, rushed to the scene and called an ambulance.

Patient Ava Barbadora was put at ease by the care team in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston, MA.But Ava’s nervousness immediately subsided when she arrived in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center.  

“As soon as Ava got to Tufts Medical Center she was put at ease by the staff,” said Jeff. “Everyone from the doctor to the x-ray technician took the time to provide the level of care that my daughter needed.”

Ava was diagnosed with a forearm fracture by Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Emory Petrack, MD, who provided Jeff with ongoing updates while the bone was being fixed and a cast applied. Child Life Specialists Kayla Howell and Eileen McCarthy helped identify and address the family’s needs and played a vital role in normalizing the environment for Ava.

“We understand that a visit to the emergency room is scary for a child,” said Dr. Petrack. “That’s why we work hard as a team to make the experience soothing and healing for kids.”

Care that’s Above and Beyond

In town from Natick, the Barbadora family was on a weekend trip while the mother attended a work event in Seaport. Jeff had taken Ava and her younger sister Mia, 5, out for a fun afternoon in Boston. This was their first experience at Tufts Medical Center, and since then they’ve talked about the experience being “unbelievably exceptional.”

“Everyone we came in contact with was absolutely wonderful,” said Jeff. “I didn’t realize Child Life Specialists existed at hospitals, and Kayla and Eileen made a world of difference in Ava’s experience.” He went on to say, “The entire care team deserves a very big kudos for keeping our Ava so calm through her ordeal.”

Paying It Forward

After a great experience in the Pediatric Emergency Department, patient Ava Barbadora gave back Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston, MA.Since then, Ava has had her cast removed. During her stay in the Emergency Department, Ava was given a stuffed elephant. She was so grateful for the care she received here and for the gift she was provided, that she wanted to give back. Ava recently donated stuffed animals to Tufts Medical Center to help comfort others.

While we make every effort to see your child within 30 minutes of arrival to our dedicated Pediatric Emergency Room, we’re proud to offer a new tool that allows you to check-in for an estimated treatment time so that you and your family can wait at home instead of in a Boston ER waiting room. If your child has a non-life-threatening emergency, please use our scheduling tool to select the time you would like to come in to our ER for treatment.