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Frankie's Story

Frankie working on an art project at the kitchen table while smiling at the camera

With decorated walls, toys and activities designed especially for children, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital provides children, who are going through challenging experiences, a place to continue being kids. It’s a place 6-year-old Frances and her family didn’t expect to be in September 2018.

When Frances, who goes by Frankie, came home from school one Monday afternoon, she was wheezing. Her parents knew they needed to keep a close eye on her. Frankie had a similar episode when she was 3-years-old, and was prescribed an inhaler. At that time, she was too young to be diagnosed with asthma, but Frankie’s mother, Erin, knew it would be a possibility since she herself has asthma.

Frankie’s wheezing continued into the next day and well into the evening.

“My husband and I thought a warm bath and inhaler would loosen things up, but when it didn’t, we were worried and called my daughter’s doctor’s office,” said Erin. “We were looking for options.”

The nurse who answered the phone recommended trying the inhaler one more time. With no visible improvement, the nurse recommended Frankie go to the hospital for further treatment. Around 9 p.m., Frankie and Erin arrived at the Emergency Department at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, where a physician determined Frances was having an asthma attack.

After several breathing treatments, and not enough improvement, Frankie was admitted to the HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Pediatric Unit, which is within HSHS St. Vincent Hospital.

“I was expecting a quick trip to the emergency room, not an overnight stay, said Erin. “It was a whirlwind and not what I expected, but I was never worried, I just felt like she was in such good hands.”

Frankie had fallen asleep after the second round of breathing treatments in the Emergency Department. When she woke up the next morning in her room, she wasn’t sure where she was, but she wasn’t alone.

“I had stepped out to call my work and let them know I wasn’t going to be in, and of course that’s when she woke up,” recalled Erin. “But when I walked back into the room, I was so grateful that a nurse was there talking to her.”

While the TV, toys, activities and food helped, Erin says it was when she pulled back the curtain in her daughter’s room that Frankie lit up. The view, overlooking Green Bay, is something Frankie still talks about.

“She had never been that high up before,” said Erin. “When we left the hospital, Frankie started crying and said she didn’t want to go to the ground, the ground is boring.”

Erin says while they weren’t in the hospital long, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, and the staff, left a lasting impression on their family.

“If Frankie ever has to go back, she will look forward to it,” said Erin. “She is not going to be scared.”

Though the hope is Frankie stays happy and healthy, they are comforted knowing she can receive exceptional care close to home.

As the only children’s hospital in Green Bay, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is committed to the exceptional care of children, like Frankie, and to the fight against the childhood illnesses and injuries.  As part of a nonprofit, Catholic-based health care system, HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital provides care to all who need it – regardless of their ability to pay.  You can help. Join the Fight and donate today to a community fundraising campaign that will allow HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital to upgrade its facilities and expand spaces specifically designed for children.