Mason’s Memory: The Patton’s Passion For Kidney Awareness

When their son, uncle, father, brother, friend, died as a result of complications from kidney disease, the Patton family became passionate about helping others battling kidney disease.

Denise Patton wears a shirt with a peace sign. She sits on a couch next to a colorful Bob Marley pillow. She speaks methodically using descriptors like “old soul,” and “hippie.”

She smiles through tears and shows stacks of photographs of her son Mason Patton – at family parties, beach vacations, and holidays. The Patton’s Crawfordsville New England saltbox home sits along the scenic Sugar Creek. Mason was in the fifth grade when the family built the home and he worked alongside his dad, Mark constructing a fireplace on the deck overlooking the wooded seven acres.


Ten years would pass before Mason Patton received his first kidney transplant.

Denise Patton knew about Alport syndrome. Her father fought it through dialysis until he died at the age of 59. Denise is the only one of five children who is a carrier of the disease. She has no symptoms but remains in the care of IU Health physician Dr. Dennis Mishler and receives annual check ups.

That son that Denise calls an “old soul,” “a hippie,” was three when he was diagnosed with Alport syndrome. The genetic kidney disease that typically passes from father to daughter, daughter to son is characterized by loss of hearing and sight and progressively leads to loss of kidney function.

Mason Patton was in the care of physicians at Riley Hospital for years and was told that he would most likely need a kidney transplant in his 20s. Five days before his 21st birthday, Mason Patton received his first kidney transplant from his uncle Mike Patton. The transplant lasted 10 years; he went back on dialysis for a year. Thirteen years after his first transplant, Mason received a second transplant at IU Health University Hospital, donated by his cousin. But complications continued.


On March 14, 2014 Mason was admitted to a Lafayette hospital to have his fistula removed when Denise Patton heard the “code blue.” She knew then that it was her son.

“Hemodialysis is life saving but it is also hard on your heart. I think his heart gave out,” said Denise Patton. Mason was 38. He was the father of Stella, little brother to Katina Curran and uncle to Levi, Cole, Cody and Emma Curran.

“Uncle Mason was always happy. The person you want to be,” said Emma Curran, 16.  “He was a daring toddler always asking me to wreck him on his Big Wheel and when he played baseball he always slid into base even when he didn’t need to,” said Mason’s sister. Mason graduated from North Montgomery High School and also played football and soccer over the years. “He was popular with boys and girls and had lots of friends,” said Katina Curran. A week after he died, 400 people showed up to pay their respects to the guy who had planned his funeral officiated by the father of one of his best friends. Mason loved concerts and chose music by Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and the Grateful Dead. Those memories are bittersweet for his family.

“Mason didn’t want to be defined by his medical issues,” said Curran. “He loved life – snow skiing, zip lining, snorkeling. And he didn’t know a stranger. He was always helping someone else.”


Even before the heartbreaking loss of March 14, 2014 the Patton family participated in the National Kidney Foundation Walk. The annual walk is dedicated to awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease. Every year, the Pattons have increased their commitment to fundraising and support for kidney disease.

Denise Patton serves as a board member for the National Kidney Foundation and their circle of supporters has grown to include other kidney donors and recipients and those fighting kidney disease or awaiting transplants. Two years after Mason’s death, the family was named the top fundraising team in the state and the 11th fundraising team in the nation. This year, they raised enough funds to send 20 children to the annual Kidney Camp – for youth 8-18 – held at Camp Tecumseh in Lafayette. Several family members also volunteer at the camp – a place where kids with kidney disease can take part in many of the activities that Mason loved – zip lining, listening to music and hanging with friends.

For Denise Patton the faces of those campers are a connection to her son.

“There was a teenage girl so upset before camp because her transplant was scheduled and she didn’t want to miss camp. That would have been Mason – never wanting to miss out on an adventure,” said Patton. In addition to participating in camp and the annual walk, the family’s schools have staged fundraisers, the family plans a November gala, they help patients with transportation and other personal needs, and distribute gifts to dialysis patients and goodies to hospital staff. Mostly, they want to get the word out about the importance of kidney donation.

“Our main goal is to educate people about organ donation,” said Denise Patton. “Yes we are advocates and I think Mason is keeping his memory alive through us. He wouldn’t be boastful but I think he’d be grateful.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

Foundation Funds New Ambulance in Morgan County

Jason King, chief nursing officer and vice-president of patient care services at Indiana University Health Morgan, announced the delivery of a new ambulance to serve the residents of Morgan County. The ambulance was funded through the hospital’s philanthropy efforts.

When Morgan County’s previous ambulance service ended unexpectedly, King and Larry Bailey, president of IU Health Morgan, had to find an alternate plan for emergency transportation and care. They contacted Cory Hall, director of Indiana University Health LifeLine, to discuss options. IU Health Bloomington Hospital lent an ambulance, which was used for hospital to hospital transfer, to fill in while King and Hall searched for a long-term solution. IU Health LifeLine crews worked with Morgan County EMS providing Advanced Life Support services to the county while also working to build a sustainable transport system for IU Health Morgan. “The county was never without emergency services,” said King. “This is a benefit to being part of a large health system.”

“It was truly a collaborative effort,” King said. “Martinsville Mayor Shannon Kohl, along with IU Health Bloomington, Morgan County EMS, and IU Health Morgan Foundation teams came together to provide seamless transition in care.” 

King applied for and received $240,000 in philanthropic funds to buy a new IU Health LifeLine ambulance and support for advanced training for the ambulance crew. “LifeLine didn’t miss a beat,” King says. “The new ambulance is state-of-the-art, equipped with specialty medical equipment to provide advanced care during transports to our adult and pediatric Level I trauma centers in Indianapolis. And we now have a team that has been trained in Advanced Life Support care.” 

The power of philanthropy is essential to ensure that Hoosiers have access to the best possible medical treatment, especially in an emergency situation or when transporting patients to bigger hospitals. “This was a great win for Morgan County,” King said.

The mission of IU Health Foundation is to increase the role of philanthropy to help IU Health achieve its goal of making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. IU Health Foundation improves the health of individuals, communities and the state by focusing its philanthropy on people, progress and partnerships. To learn more, visit

Nurse Natalie Calow: ‘I Feel Like I Grew Up At Methodist’

As a young girl, she spent nights at Methodist Hospital as her aunt battled cancer. She remembers the nurses and how wonderful they were. And so she became one of them.

The ledge of the big window inside the hospital room was just wide enough, a perfect little makeshift bed for 11-year-old Natalie Calow.

She would sleep there night after night, keeping watch over her aunt, who was fighting a rare form of cancer.

“I remember sleeping in that windowsill and I remember watching fireworks out that window,” says Calow. “I remember watching LifeLine land.”

And she remembers the nurses – those wonderful, amazing nurses at IU Health Methodist Hospital. They would come into her aunt’s room and they took such good care of her. They were so sweet and kind.

They let Calow stay as they placed a feeding tube. When her aunt took a turn for the worse one Christmas, they let her family have their holiday in the nearby waiting room.

When the news came that her aunt probably wouldn’t make it and she was taken off all medications, the nurses were so compassionate.

“I feel like I grew up at Methodist,” says Calow, whose aunt is doing well today. “I feel like it’s kind of where I got my nursing start. And then I came to work here.” 

Yes. Calow is one of those wonderful nurses now. She came to Methodist in 2005 to work in the emergency department and do forensic nursing.

She stayed there for nine years before switching to a leadership role and then becoming manager of the mother baby unit.

Six months ago, she came back to her role as a forensic nurse, caring for victims of violent crimes.

In addition to being there for the patients, she collects evidence, does sexual assault exams and kits, takes photos, testifies in court and does blood alcohol draws.

“I love forensics because it is helping a vulnerable population,” Calow says. “A lot of victims of crime may have some type of mental health issue or substance abuse issue. Sometimes, they haven’t gotten the help they need. If we come in and aren’t judgmental in our care and try to help them, that makes a big difference.”

In addition to her forensics role, Calow also works in the ED and, during racing season, works at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More with Calow

Personal: She is married to Brad and the couple has three children: Oliver, 7, Annabelle, 9 and Ellis, 12. 

Education: Calow was born in New Castle, Ind., and grew up as a standout athlete. She played basketball and softball and went to Indiana Wesleyan University on a softball scholarship. After getting married in college, she transferred to Indiana University East where she graduated with her nursing degree. In 2015, Calow earned her master’s degree in healthcare leadership from the University of Indianapolis.

Outside of Methodist: Calow likes to read mystery books, run with Annabelle and spend time with her family, camping and hiking at state parks. She also loves to travel. Her family recently went on a trip rafting the Colorado River. “We like to say, ‘We don’t take vacations. We take adventures,’” says Calow.

Advice for new nurses: “Continuous learning. I’m still learning new things. Never be afraid to go back to school.”

Getting through the tough times: “When something does happen, in the moment you’re sad. You might shed a few tears, but you have to take care of that next person that comes in the door. So, you gather yourself and move on. It might hit you later on.”

— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.

Navigating Complications During Pregnancy

Dr. Nicole Scott with the Coleman Center for Women at IU Health University Hospital talks about identifying and addressing complications during pregnancy.

Tashay Odle was 20 weeks pregnant when an irregular heartbeat was detected during a routine prenatal visit. She was sent directly to Riley Hospital for a fetal echocardiography. Similar to an ultrasound, the test is designed to determine cardiac distress.

“I wasn’t so nervous about the baby but I was nervous there was a second baby,” said Odle, 26. The reason she wasn’t nervous she said is because she trusted her physician, Dr. Nicole Scott.

The mother of one son, Tavion, delivered by another physician at University Hospital, Odle said starting with a new doctor during her second pregnancy was a little different at first. “But Dr. Scott answered all of my questions and made me feel totally comfortable,” said Odle. “I love that IU Health has online questions and answers. It’s so much easier than leaving a voice mail and waiting for a call back. Dr. Scott always asks me first thing, ‘how are things going. Do you have any concerns?’”

Dr. Scott talks about typical concerns and how to address them:

  • In the first trimester miscarriage is most common and relevant. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. We want to be sure we hear a strong heartbeat. If there’s bleeding we may also be concerned that there is a complication. The benefit for moms coming to IU Health is that we have some of the best high-risk doctors and pediatricians in the country right next door to assist and assess.
  • In the second trimester we also offer genetic screening. We have the abilities to look into and follow up further if there are known complications.
  • In the third trimester we see moms more often because there are potentially more complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes. We also want to keep a close eye on how the baby is developing. This is the time mom usually has normal anxiety over delivery and pain management. We also talk about breastfeeding.
  • How does she help alleviate a patient’s fears? “I think it depends on the patient. Most patients just want to know that their baby is healthy. We talk about reasons to induce or not induce and different types of pain management. As the mother of a nine- and seven-year-old I have the privilege of having my own kids and experiences to draw on. Even though every patient and every delivery is different, it’s still nice to be able to relate to them as a mom.”

— T.J. Banes,

Troubling Trifecta

Schools and daycares can be great opportunities for children to learn, grow and make friends. They’re also a playground for germs and illnesses that multiply and spread.

“Kids are exposed to hundreds of viruses and bacteria at school and daycare every day,” said Justin Fuller, MD with Riley Physicians. “There is no real way to completely prevent these kinds of problems other than emphasizing good hand hygiene.”

Three areas where children tend to have problems are in their ears, nose and throat. Older kids can usually tell their parent or guardian when they feel sick, but it can be harder to tell something is wrong when the child is too young to communicate or when they’re non-verbal.

“I tell people, they’re pretty good at knowing how their kid normally acts,” said Paul Johnson, MD with IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT). “Some kids just act like they don’t feel good, and that’s the first symptom.”


Chronic ear problems are the vast majority of children’s issues seen by the ENT team. Some signs to look for include: children pulling at their ears, severe fussiness, fevers and kids who’ve been walking well who suddenly start falling more frequently.

“Children are more likely to develop ear infections in comparison to adults, based on their anatomy,” said Fuller.

“The Eustachian tubes, which equalize pressure between the middle ear and mouth/nose cavity, are more likely to become obstructed and lead to ear infections in kids than in adults.”

Ear infections or middle ear fluid that does not resolve over several months will occasionally require ear tube placement by an ENT specialist.

“Tubes help ventilate the middle ear and prevent fluid accumulation, which can prevent the necessity of antibiotics and missed days of school or work,” said Fuller. “This can also help hearing and speech development for kids who have chronic fluid in the middle ear from recurrent ear infections.”


Nose issues in kids have very simple symptoms.

“They walk around with their mouth open, they snore and have runny, drippy noses,” said Johnson. “It sounds simplistic but that’s the case. There’s not any subtlety usually when the nose is the issue.”

He said the most common nose issue in children he sees as an ENT is big adenoids that plug up the nose. Adenoids are the same type of tissue as tonsils, but they’re located behind the nasal cavity. When they are very large, they can obstruct the flow of air going through the nose and can cause breathing problems.

Allergies are another common nose problem for kids. They typically perk up in the spring and fall when pollen from different plants is in the air. One tip to reduce allergy symptoms is to monitor pollen counts and stay indoors during the times of day when the pollen levels are at the highest.


Swollen tonsils are a common indicator for illness. They’re part of the immune system, and when it revs itself up to make more white blood cells to fight the illness, it causes the tissue in the tonsils to swell.

One throat-related illness many parents deal with is strep throat. Strep throat can be accompanied by symptoms including fever, sore throat, headache and stomach ache.

“Sometimes younger children will have fever and complain of a stomach ache or headache without mentioning a sore throat, or they may just refuse to eat or drink,” said Fuller. “Strep is easy to treat, and susceptible to just about any antibiotic but can lead to missed school and work days for parents.”

Another issue may be that the child’s tonsils are large all of the time and not just when they’re sick. That can cause breathing troubles including sleep apnea.

“The most common reason I take tonsils and adenoids out in kids is for sleep apnea, not chronic tonsillitis,” said Johnson. “If you have a little kid who snores all night long, is a restless sleeper, is hyper during the day, has trouble concentrating and may wet the bed, he or she may need to see the doctor.” All of these are signs and symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea from big tonsils and adenoids.”

While a pediatrician can typically handle treatment for these areas, children may be referred to an ENT for reoccurring issues.

“In the case of tonsils and adenoids: I’m just a glorified plumber and they’re plugging up the works,” said Johnson. “But just because you show up in our office doesn’t mean we’re going to be signing your kid up for a tonsillectomy or ear tubes.”

Non-surgical treatments and management are used by both pediatricians and ENTs for ear, nose and throat issues. Johnson explained that it doesn’t always seem like that’s what’s happening because by the time a child gets referred to him they may need surgery.

“It’s no fun to have your tonsils and adenoids out,” said Johnson. “Some people don’t want to do it because they’re scared, but it fixes the problem and may ultimately be the way to go.”

Featured Riley Physicians provider seeing patients for pediatrics:

Justin Fuller, MD


Featured IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians provider seeing patients for ear, nose and throat issues:
Paul Johnson, MD

He Taught His Patient To Smell The Roses

Nurse Stanton Hinson, who works on the Medical Progressive Care Unit at University Hospital was recently commended for his quick call to action to aid a patient.

It was a manic Monday when Nurse Stanton Hinson took a report on a very restless patient.

“The patient had been suffering from what appeared to be severe delirium for at least 24 hours, causing the patient to become extremely restless. The nurse and supporting staff members were in and out of the room numerous times an hour in an attempt to keep the patient safe and to reassure the family at the bedside,” said Nurse Susan Elpers, MPCU Clinical Care Manager at University Hospital.  A CT scan had been ordered the day before but the test was unable to be performed due to the patient’s condition.

On this particular Monday around 6:30 in the evening, the patient began to lose consciousness, signs of delirium subsided. That’s when Hinson, 29, a travel nurse with IU Health for the past year, took action. He insisted a CT scan be given to the patient.

“As the official read of the scan was occurring, and the patient was being transported back up to the unit, Hinson made crucial calls to the covering service and to the Rapid Response RN, Frank Anderson, alerting them that quick action was needed,” said Elpers.  “Hinson anticipated that this patient needed to be emergently transported to Methodist.  The Rapid Response Team immediately initiated the Level 1 stroke protocol, and in conjunction with the covering service, neurosurgery service and LifeLine, the patient was packed up and emergently taken to Methodist Hospital.  Within the hour, the patient was in the OR, having lifesaving surgery,” said Elpers.

Three days later, the patient was recovering. Elpers credits the quick response by Hinson and Anderson for saving the patient’s life.

Hinson says his experience in critical care has helped him make tough decisions. His career includes working in both surgical and cardiovascular ICU.

“We get a wide range of diagnosis in medical progressive care,” said Hinson. “The patients are all very sick so it’s nice to have the critical care background.” Always interested in caring for others, Hinson said he knew at age 14 he wanted to be a nurse and by the age of 16, he obtained his certification as a CNA and worked his way through Bethel College to become a nurse.

One of his strengths is calming his patients during anxious moments. He recently had a patient who had been very ill and was not getting better.

“She was afraid she was dying and she kept asking me if she’d ever laugh again,” said Hinson. “She wouldn’t sleep because she was afraid she wouldn’t wake up and she continually had panic attacks and couldn’t breathe. To help her relax and breathe, I asked what her favorite flower was. When she told me it was a yellow rose I told her to pretend she was smelling the rose and then blowing out a candle. I wrote it on the white board in her room and her husband told me later that she kept repeating it over and over, ‘smell the rose; blow out the candle.’”

More about Hinson:

  • He has an Australian Shepherd named “Elvis.”
  • He has taken medical mission trips to Kenya and the Dominican Republic.
  • His co-workers presented him with an award during Nurses Week “Most Likely to Travel.” He is frequently jet setting to such places as Mexico, Iceland, France, and Honduras.

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

Too Much Fun in the Sun? When to Use Urgent Care This Summer

Summer sometimes brings unexpected injuries or illnesses. Indiana University Health Urgent Care is here to keep you safe and healthy all summer long.

As part of Indiana’s largest healthcare network, all of our urgent care locations are equipped to treat a wide array of summer conditions and health needs, no appointment needed. From allergic reactions and earaches to stitches and x-rays, IU Health Urgent Care has your care needs covered.

Staying Safe this Summer

Sports Physicals

Keep your young athlete active and prepared for the upcoming season or summer camp with a physical at one of our walk-in clinics. IU Health Urgent Care has the ability to conduct full physicals for children and adults at each of our locations.

Physicals are important to a person’s overall health and can prevent future injuries. Here are some things our physicals include:

  • Vital signs screening (particularly for heart health)
  • Mobility checkup (for bones and joints)

Sports Injuries

Playing hard is part of the game. Unfortunately, so are injuries. Our urgent care locations are equipped to diagnose and treat common sports injuries so you can get on your feet and back in the game as fast as possible.

Not sure if your injury is something we can handle? Here’s a look at more of the injuries we treat:

  • Minor joint pain, especially caused by repetitive or intense activity
  • Simple and minor fractures
  • Sprained ligaments, such as ankles
  • Strained muscles and tendons, such as biceps

Summer Safety

Summer is time for fun in the sun, but sometimes accidents happen. Our urgent care locations are equipped to treat minor injuries, especially those that can occur during the active summer months. That way, you can get the medical care you need quickly without a visit to the emergency room.

We treat minor injuries, such as:

  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Ear infections
  • Cuts that require sutures
  • Concussions
  • Allergic reactions

Vaccines and Immunizations

Don’t let an unexpected illness disrupt your travel plans this summer. Be prepared for your summer adventures with recommended vaccines and immunizations, especially if travelling abroad. Learn more about Travel Medicine here.

Each of our locations provides vaccinations and immunizations to keep you safe, healthy and adventurous. We provide vaccines and immunizations for most common illnesses, such as:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) vaccines
  • Influenza vaccines

Find Urgent Care Locations Near You

Ready to get back to your life — or get your child back in the game — this summer? Get the care you need at any of our 10 convenient locations in Central Indiana and across the state. Shorter wait times mean you can be in and out in less than 40 minutes. Walk-in or schedule an appointment.

Find the Nearest Urgent Care Location

Want to know more about IU Health Urgent Care or need to pay your urgent care bill? Learn more here. 

Why An X-Ray Tech Wears A Red Bow

Rhonda Jones, a radiological technologist has been with IU Health University Hospital for 16 years. She loves her job and has a reason for wearing a red ribbon on Fridays.

She was 10 when Rhonda Jones was diagnosed with scoliosis. Over time she became a regular patient at Riley Hospital for Children getting X-rays every three to six months to monitor the curvature of her spine. It was one of those visits for scans when a technician allowed Jones to help process the films.

“I told my mom then that I wanted to be an X-ray tech,” said Jones, 38. Her condition eventually led to multiple corrective surgeries. “I grew two inches in one day,” she said after rods were placed in her back.

She completed her degree at Ball State and worked in the film loan area of radiology while going through school. She started working at IU Health University Hospital 16 years ago where she specializes in fluoroscopy, a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie.

“I work in GI fluoroscopy which is often called the ‘barium kitchen. It involves all GI procedures such as post op swallows, barium swallows, all the way down to enemas. We do a lot of exams that people don’t want to do,” said Jones. “The most difficult part of the job is that a lot of the exams aren’t comfortable physically or emotionally. It can be embarrassing for the patient and it’s hard knowing the patient won’t be completely comfortable. I try to remind them and myself that we’re doing a lot of good,” said Jones.

“I start off by telling the patient the truth – a lot of the contrast doesn’t taste good and our table is cold hard and flat – I say ‘welcome to the barium kitchen. Our cooking isn’t good but the end result is going to help.’”

More about Jones:

  • What she likes best about her job: “Seeing the patients after they are healthy. A lot of them come back for post-op tests and I love seeing them feeling better.”
  • Hobbies: “I love hanging out with my nieces and nephews and going with them to wrestling meets.” She is also a fan of drag racing and attends the US Nationals every year.
  • Something that would surprise people to learn: In high school she taught roller-skating to kids five and under.
  • What people may not know about her: Her dad was Vietnam Vet. He died four years ago of complications from a brain tumor. He taught her to respect US Veterans. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and every Friday she wears a red ribbon in her hair in remembrance of deployed soldiers.

-T.J. Banes

The Most Shocking News Imaginable

Angela Fraley thought she had mono but when she went for further testing she heard news that would lead her to IU Health University Hospital.

It’s been 13 years since Angela Fraley’s transplant surgery. She still can’t believe the time that has passed. More than anything, she can’t believe she’s reached a point where she can say she’s in good health.

She was 28 when she began feeling sick. After a visit to her local hospital she was sent home and told to rest. The diagnosis at the time was mono. But the symptoms persisted so she visited her local physician and was told the issues were related to her liver.  A biopsy followed and three days later she learned she had primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a chronic, or long-term disease that slowly damages the bile ducts.

“It was the most shocking news that I could have ever imagined,” said Fraley, 51. “I went through so many ups and downs. I was taking as many as 28 pills a day and I was so weak that I couldn’t feed myself or even get up to walk more than 10 steps without a walker.”

She went through 10 years of tests and hospital stays.

“I even had a emergency doctor once tell me I was his hero because I wouldn’t give up even when my body wanted to,” said Fraley, who has been married to James Fraley, a retired pastor for 20 years. They were married in the early stages of her illness. She is the mother of Anthony Beasley, 30 and Jaron Fraley, 19, and has two grandsons.

“Jaron is my miracle son. Doctors said it would be hard to be pregnant with my health except my old liver did well during pregnancy,” said Fraley. “At first the placenta was not attaching as fast as it should and then he was born five weeks early and the cord had wrapped around his throat causing to lose oxygen,” she said. They spent a lot of time in the hospital the first year of Jaron’s life but he is healthy now.

Still Fraley’s heath did not improve.

Six years after Jaron’s birth, in April Fraley was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant. The following month on May 31, 2005 she received a new liver.

“They said when they hooked my new liver up that it started dancing on the table. I think it was really me smiling,” said Fraley. “Life is still a challenge at times but that day I went from death’s doors to a whole new life. I can’t say enough about my surgeon Dr. Jonathan Fridell. I had the best team of doctors, nurses, techs and of course family helping me get back to my life.”

These days, Fraley says she sees life a little differently. She enjoys movie nights with her four sisters, spending time with her grandsons who call her “Yaya,” attending church, relaxing by the ocean, and watching the Colts and Pacers games.

“I still have a few things on my bucket list and now they actually seem reachable,” said Fraley. “I’d like to visit Niagara Falls, go to a Colts game, ride on the transplant float in the Rose Bowl Parade and meet my donor’s family.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

Nurses Pay Tribute To Their Own

When a nurse dies, fellow comrades are there dressed in white – paying tribute to one of their own.

It was close to their hearts.

The woman laid to rest was one of their peers. She walked the hospital halls, caring for patients, and consoling families until the day she died. It was an unexpected loss and they felt the need to honor her in life and in death.

So nurses Selina McNulty, Tracy Smith and Sally Lowrey, took their posts right beside the casket of fellow nurse Dana Record. It was March 9 three days after Record died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Like Record, McNulty and Smith are in their 40s. Like Record, they are nurses at IU Health Arnett.

“Dana was a highly respected nurse and was loved by her patients,” said McNulty, who like Record, is also a mother. As family and friends paid tribute to Record at East Side Baptist Church, Crawfordsville, the fellow nurses solemnly stood by, dressed from head to toe in the standardized white uniform introduced by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. Record’s funeral was the first appearance of the West Central Region Nursing Honor Guard.

The nurses had started laying groundwork for the Honor Guard months before Record’s funeral. Throughout the country, nurses from various hospitals and healthcare communities volunteer at Honor Guards. They attend services paying tribute to nurses (including retired nurses) by “keeping watch” near the casket – similar to a military tribute.  Their involvement in services may also include reciting the “Nightingale Pledge,” and the “Nurse’s Prayer.” At Record’s funeral her peers set a table with a white cap, white bible and a lighted Nightingale lamp. At the close of the service, the lamp was blown out, symbolizing the end of Record’s service to a profession she loved. The candle was presented to the family along with bookmarks that included the “Nightingale Pledge” and the “Nurse’s Prayer.”

When news reached the nursing community of Record’s accident, the local Honor Guard was still in the process of securing uniforms. In less than 48 hours they were dressed in their whites and ready to pay their respects.

“When something like this happens, it affects everyone in the hospital. Even people who didn’t know Dana well, knew that she was kind-hearted and always had a smile and caring heart. We knew it was something we had to do,” said Smith. “We had a huge response from family and friends of Dana. One gentleman cried and cried and said it was so beautiful and that it reminded him of the military.”  Family members returned to Records’ workplace in May, when the hospital announced “The Dana Record Preceptor of the Year Award” during National Nurses Week. The award recognizes Record’s dedication to coaching fellow nurses.

Since Records funeral, the West Central Regional Honor Guard has attended one other service for an 86-year-old retired nurse.

The three nurses have received marketing and financial support from IU Health for their efforts and are working to expand the guard and get the word out to local funeral homes about their service.

“After Dana’s funeral we said ‘nurses dedicate their time giving and nurturing,” said McNulty. “This is our turn to take care of this nurse one last time right at the end.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.