Patient view

‘At our lowest points Emma was there to comfort us’

Charmaine Kember recalls how nurse Emma Standing supported her family when her four-year-old daughter was rushed to hospital.
Charmaine Kember and Annabelle

Charmaine Kember recalls how nurse Emma Standing supported her family when her four-year-old daughter was rushed to hospital

Our daughter Annabelle was rushed to Evelina Childrens Hospital in London. She was seriously ill with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a rare disease marked by a sudden, widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

Just days before, I had given birth to our fourth child by caesarean section, and had developed an infection in my scar.

Annabelle was taken straight to PICU and placed on life support. I was admitted to the postnatal ward with our baby Ted. Lee, my partner, was going from one end of the hospital to the other, doing his best to look after us both.

Days later, Annabelle came off life support and was transferred to

...

Charmaine Kember recalls how nurse Emma Standing supported her family when her four-year-old daughter was rushed to hospital


Annabelle with her mum Charmaine, at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. 

Our daughter Annabelle was rushed to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. She was seriously ill with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a rare disease marked by a sudden, widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

Just days before, I had given birth to our fourth child by caesarean section, and had developed an infection in my scar.

Annabelle was taken straight to PICU and placed on life support. I was admitted to the postnatal ward with our baby Ted. Lee, my partner, was going from one end of the hospital to the other, doing his best to look after us both.

Days later, Annabelle came off life support and was transferred to the Savannah Ward, where we met staff nurse Emma Standing.

Care for all 

Emma introduced herself and explained what was happening to our daughter, making sure we understood everything.

She recognised the vulnerable situation our family was in, having a seriously ill child and a newborn baby at the same time. 

Emma was always checking if we needed anything. She provided us with bottles of milk and clothing for Ted. She listened and offered a shoulder to cry on.

‘She never tired of hearing our questions and never failed to answer them in a way that kept us positive and yet also kept us grounded’

As time went on and Annabelle started to improve, Emma would often be seen chatting with her, encouraging her to talk. She looked after us too, arranging counselling.

Aiding recovery 

She was there for every step of Annabelle’s recovery. She discovered Annabelle’s love for all things arty and was soon presenting her with lots of stickers – for taking her medicines well, for talking well, for all manner of things.

At our lowest points, when Annabelle was having focal seizures and hallucinating, Emma was always there with comforting words. She gave us her time, even when we bombarded her with the same questions over and over. She never tired of hearing them and never failed to answer them in a way that kept us positive and yet also kept us grounded.

As our daughter regained strength, Emma would often be seen laughing and joking with her.

She was so easy to get along with and so good at her job. She had a lovely demeanor and was a truly fantastic listener. The hours spent sitting round our daughter’s bedside were better with Emma there, and I am sure her presence aided our Annabelle’s recovery.

We feel truly blessed to still have our beautiful little girl here with us, and we owe that to the wonderful care she received.

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