Halloween at Erlanger: Costumes, candy brighten day or young patients

Halloween at Erlanger: Costumes, candy brighten day or young patients

November 1st, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Senior inpatient resident Austin Hamm, dressed as a wizard, was one of several staff members who wore Halloween costumes as they did their rounds Wednesday at Children's Hospital at Erlanger. Many staff members and patients wore costumes to celebrate the holiday.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

Eight-year-old Eyonnah Norman was in the hospital for at least 24 hours, had an asthma attack and cried in the bathroom because a pneumonia diagnosis kept her isolated from other children.

But on Halloween, her biggest concern was if she was going to get candy.

She did.

Eyonnah was one of dozens of sick children who, on Wednesday, were part of Erlanger's annual tradition of Halloween in the hospital.

"We're just trying to make it a little brighter," said second-year resident Dr. Steven Allen, who carried an inflatable knapsack on his back and dressed as a Ghostbuster.

Two little boys stared at Dr. Austin Hamm as they passed him in the hallway. The senior resident stands 6 feet 5 and was wearing a wizard hat, cape and beard.

"You just hate it for them that they have to be here," said Hamm, who was dressed as professor Albus Dumbledore from the "Harry Potter" novels.

If Hamm and other staff have the final say, no sickness, not even cancer, will keep children from having fun.

On Wednesday, doctors dressed up like wizards, vampires and princesses. Nurses strolled the halls as "Sesame Street" Muppets. Food service staff dressed like Charlie Brown characters while distributing candy.

Dr. Christie Aguirre floated through the halls wearing a lab coat over a long black gown and blue tiara. Costumed Pet therapy dogs allowed children to pet them and a small group of children watched cartoons.

Eleven-year-old Samaria Aker flashed a smile while sporting false purple eyelashes as part of her hospital-issued vampire/pirate costume. Just a day earlier, she was admitted to the hospital with yellow eyes and coughing. She received six prescriptions to treat her asthma and was released Wednesday.

An hour later, Eyonnah had slipped into her hospital-issued drama queen costume and -- still in search of candy -- walked around the nurses' desk wearing a hospital mask. Striking out on sweets, she went back to her room and cried again. But by that time, nurse Dusty Nichols, dressed as Sesame Street's fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby, knew the problem and promised to get candy.

"We're going to take care of her," said Nichols.

By Wednesday afternoon, Eyonnah had a bag of candy, was feeling better and doctors were discussing her dismissal.