01:08 AM

Compassion and quick thinking in the ER

North Valley Hospital is a valuable community resource


When Marissa Keenan’s two-year-old son Solomon crashed in the bike carrier, her and her husband had to make a decision. “Do we call an ambulance or drive him to the hospital?” says Keenan, a business owner in Whitefish. “We live really close to North Valley Hospital, so we just got in the car.”

“Having the hospital right here in Whitefish is so helpful, because we knew we could have a physician and ER staff look at the injury – it was a head injury, so there was a lot of blood – and let us know how bad it was. Then, we could go from there – we just wanted to get to our closest hospital,” Keenan remembers.

“We rarely think about expectations for our hospital experience but when I reflect on it, the care we received was incredible which we did expect, because we know North Valley Hospital. Of course, at the time, we were all freaking out a bit, having a toddler with a bad injury, but everyone from patient admissions to the emergency department staff was calm and helpful.”

Keenan explains that her and her husband, Sam Dauenhauer, worked closely with the staff to determine the most appropriate type of care for their son. “They are the medical experts, and we are the parents, so we know our kid. The medical team gave us our options and communicated everything clearly so we could make the best decision about treatment options for our child; it was a real partnership in care.”

She also remembers the Teddy Bear Program, which is coordinated by the North Valley Hospital Foundation to give stuffed animals to kids in the emergency room. “North Valley Hospital gave Solomon a teddy bear to make him feel better – he was pretty distraught – and now it’s his favorite thing in the world,” Keenan mentions.

Keenan says, “Injuries happen quickly, especially with little kids, and we are so grateful that the medical staff at North Valley worked with us so well and took such good care of Solomon.”

Keenan, like the parents of many young children in the area, has been to the hospital before. “We delivered both of our kids there, and it’s not our first visit to the ER. This is a wonderful resource for our community, and I am invested in this hospital. We live in a small town, so we know our nurses and doctors because they’re our neighbors and fellow school parents. To know this hospital and this level of care is right here in our valley is incredibly valuable.”