Boy’s Family Grateful to NorthShore

Ned Bryant

Ned Bryant with Dr. Benson’s dog Chelsea

Seven-year-old Ned Bryant was seriously injured when he attempted to reach a piece of playground equipment, spending a week in NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Evanston Hospital's Intensive Care Unit with an open fracture and nerve damage to his left hand and arm. Four months later, the young boy was hospitalized again and underwent a nerve transplant in his arm.

Today, the Bryant family is grateful to NorthShore's Leon Benson, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and Chief of NorthShore's Division of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, who has helped bring the second-grader's everyday skills such as dressing, riding a bike and buckling his seatbelt, back to near normal levels.

The emotional trauma of having serious injuries was helped by Dr. Benson's compassion and positive outlook and the comfort of the doctor's therapy dog, Chelsea, who helped to ease the frequent visits for Ned, said his mother, Amanda Bryant.

"We have two dogs at home, so Dr. Benson would sometimes bring Chelsea along to help distract Ned when he had difficult procedures, like taking stitches out," said Bryant. "Dr. Benson treated him as a whole person, also addressing his emotional recovery."

To show their appreciation, the Bryants asked youngsters attending their daughter's birthday party to bring gently used books instead of presents to donate to Evanston Hospital's pediatric unit. "I'd say we gathered about 100 books for the activities room in the pediatric unit," said Bryant. "It was a small gesture but we wanted to say thank you."

"I am happy Evanston Hospital was there for my family," said Bryant. "It excels - from the doctors to the nurses to the food service employees. All our needs were met and it was a positive experience. With two other children, being close to home for Ned's care helped a lot, too."

Ned is still receiving physical therapy and lacks feeling in certain areas of his hand. "But he has improved so much and we're so grateful to Evanston Hospital and its staff," said Bryant, who is organizing a benefit with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to help build a safe playground space for a school in need on the south side of Chicago.

The Bryants have invited 20 members of Ned's NorthShore care team, including physicians, nurses and their spouses, to the benefit, which will be held on November 10 at the Masonic Temple in Evanston. For more information or to support the event, email Amanda Bryant

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