Back in December of 2008, nurse.com featured a piece about the organization Angels In Waiting – a nonprofit started in 2005 by Linda West-Conforti, a NICU nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, California. The purpose of the organization was to connect medically fragile babies with nurses who wanted to take them into their homes. (nurse.com)
The organization has recently been thrust into the nation’s spotlight for providing services to Nadya Suleman and her octuplets – services that Suleman has since refused by firing the nurses.
The nurse.com article provides background on the organization, including the story of Sammy, the child who inspired the creation of Angels In Waiting. Sammy, who was born four months premature due to his mother’s addiction to methamphetamines, was able to overcome severe medical complications with the help of a caring Angels In Waiting foster nurse:
When Sammy first came home with West-Conforti, he had a Broviac catheter, colostomy, and feeding tubes and required 14 different medications every day. West-Conforti would start his day by unhooking his feeding tube, providing a breathing treatment, and then giving him his first round of medications. Sammy also suffered from oral aversion because he had grown accustomed to feeding tubes for his nourishment. To help him learn to accept food through the mouth, West-Conforti started by dipping his pacifier in different flavors. She also incorporated physical and occupational therapy exercises into his play time to help him catch up developmentally.
Sammy, now 5, started kindergarten in the fall of 2008, his only remaining medical conditions include hemangiomas and visual impairment.