In honor of National Doctor's Day, we reached out to a few members of the Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Council to learn why the wish experience is so integral to their medical treatment plan.
Eric Eason, DO, FACC
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Jeremy Edwards, DO, FAAP
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care Medicine
Tripler Army Medical Center
Caitlin Sgarlat Deluca, DO, MSc
Pediatric Rheumatology and Integrative Medicine
Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital – SUNY Upstate Medical University
Why is Make-A-Wish integral to your medical treatment plan?
Dr. Edwards: As an oncologist, we often put children through uncomfortable procedures. It often wears our patients down. To give these kids anything that can spark hope or be a bright light … a wish can give them that. I see the twinkle in my patients’ eyes before their wish – that anticipation. And then when they get back, the entire family’s morale is elevated. Parents see a shadow lifted – and their child is renewed.
Dr. Sgarlat Deluca: Make-A-Wish is like an integrative therapy. I believe wishes help with the healing process. These wishes are more than just a vacation – it’s about the family, removing them from the worry of medical stress, financial stress. Make-A-Wish takes those burdens away, so they can experience something magical and help them heal.
Dr. Eason: As a pediatric cardiologist, often I can’t fix hope. I give medications or perform surgeries, but my ability to impact the family as a whole is confined to the walls of the office/hospital. Make-A-Wish allows me an avenue to engage with my patients in a different manner … developing a deeper connection with my patients and further enhancing their care.
How has the wish experience impacted your patients and their families?
Dr. Eason: One of the first wishes I granted was to a high school athlete who was being scouted for college baseball. His dreams of a collegiate career were lost when he learned of his risk of heart failure and arrhythmia. He was crushed emotionally and physically. Then I saw a complete transformation. Despite his setback, his wish to go on a fishing trip totally redirected his hopes and dreams and how he approached life. He came back a different kid.
Dr. Sgarlat Deluca: I often reflect on Lola, who was battling a brain tumor. Her wish to have a cooking competition totally changed her outlook. Not only did she beam each time I saw her after … even months after, it inspired her to have her own cooking show someday. The positivity it brought Lola and her family is indescribable. This is a prescription I can make to ensure my patients get all they need in medical care.
Dr. Edwards: We had a child come to our hospital from Micronesia through a charity program. She had a terrible respiratory condition – she couldn’t eat; she was miserable and couldn’t leave the hospital. Her wish was to have an iPad to connect with her family. It was so simple, yet life-changing for her. I still remember her smile – it was so moving to see how her wish had a profound impact on her wellbeing and treatment.
*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7
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Thank you to Drs. Edwards, Sgarlat Deluca, Eason and all the doctors who help kids heal – physically and emotionally. We appreciate you today, and always. Thank you for helping transform lives, one wish at a time.
Is there a physician you would like to recognize? Make a gift in honor of your favorite caregiver and help inspire more transformative wishes. Visit wish.org/give.
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More physicians share the life-changing impact wishes have – beyond just medicine – on patients and their families.