Noblesville Students Find Hope In Art Therapy After School Shooting

As students return to the classroom at a local middle school, struck by tragedy, IU Health art therapists share their role in helping students cope. 

As Noblesville students head back to class following a May 25 school shooting, five IU Health art therapists are humbled, knowing they had a hand in the healing process.

Many students at Noblesville West Middle School experienced emotional trauma following the tragedy. For two days, Riley Hospital art therapists Cassie Dobbs and Emily Allbery, IU Health Simon Cancer Center CompleteLife art therapists Heidi Moffatt and Lisa Rainey and IU Health Methodist Hospital art therapist Jim Beitman volunteered their time working with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

“We opened up a classroom and provided an open art studio approach so students could come and go as they needed,” said Dobbs, who serves as president of the Indiana art therapy association (IndiATA). The therapists were part of a larger group of mental health specialists providing crisis intervention support as students returned to their classrooms following the shooting.

Students worked in groups and on their own creating posters and other self-expressions – many showing support for the shooting victims.

“We focused on making the space feel safe and comfortable where they could express themselves through art, through words, or just to get a break when they found it challenging to be back in the classroom,” said Dobbs, adding that at times every seat was filled and many students overflowed onto the floor. In response to their efforts, Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence wrote all the therapists letters of gratitude saying “art therapy is powerful in times like these and I appreciate your willingness to make a difference in this meaningful way.”

Throughout the country, art therapy has been used to help victims readjust to life after tragedy. Most recently, 20 art therapists were on hand to provide support following the Valentine’s Day shooting at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. At IU Health, therapists are specially trained to help both children and adults use art making as a form of therapy to treat anxiety, depression, and psychosocial and emotional difficulties related to illness, trauma and loss.

“While working with the students, one of the biggest things we noticed was their ability to support one another and how important it was for them to be connected and supported by each other,” said Dobbs. “We drew, painted, and glittered many hash tags. There was a lot of school pride in that room.”

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

Methodist’s Standout Night Trauma Nurse: ‘This Is What I Was Meant To Do’

Those who work with Ashley Schultz call her a beloved nurse. She is kind with a dry sense of humor. She is caring, yet tough.  

The scene is different at night inside Methodist Hospital. A quiet place where shadows lurk. An intense place where, at any moment, chaos could ensue.

Ashley Schultz adores working those wee hours of the night where life seems so delicate – the patients so vulnerable.

As a night nurse in in the surgical trauma intensive care unit, Schultz sees the worst of the worst. She cares for the sickest of the sick.

Her patients are victims of stabbings and gunshot wounds. People who have been assaulted or suffered injuries in horrific car accidents.

It’s an adrenaline rush to work until she is weary caring for those patients — once they are out of surgery. And Schultz does her job remarkably.

Those who work with Schultz call her a “standout” nurse. She is kind with a dry sense of humor. She is caring, yet tough.   

And hers is a patient population that, at times, needs tough love. Her patients may be homeless or drug addicts. They may not have family support.

“Sometimes you have to tell them they should be grateful,” says Schultz. “That they’re here, they’re alive and we’re going to help you get better if you work with us.”

The outcomes aren’t always happy, though. The surgical trauma ICU is a place of high acuity.

“We deal with a lot of poor outcomes, so you have to build the wall,” Schultz says. “But for every sad case, you get those positive cases that reassure you. This is what I was meant to do.


She grew up in Windsor, Vermont, a girl destined to be a star athlete.

Schultz, who calls herself a tomboy, started playing baseball when she was 4 years old. She was good enough to play with the boys – and she liked it. By third grade, she started field hockey.

In high school, she played basketball, golf, softball and field hockey. In the latter, she was a state champion.

Her parents, a father who managed hotels and a mother who worked for the U.S. Postal Service, never missed one of her or her brother’s games. On Sundays, they would drive into Boston to catch a Celtics, Red Sox or Bruins game.

After graduation, Schultz headed off to Indiana University, where she started as a pre-med major. She ended up graduating with a degree in public health education.

While at IU, she met her husband, Derek Schultz, a perfect match. He, too, was a sports lover and the two bonded over friendly baseball banter. She is an avid Boston Red Sox fan; he a New York Yankees fan.

When the couple moved to Indianapolis, Schultz deiced to go back to school. She had all the credits to get a nursing degree in short order.

“I fell into nursing,” she says. “But then I realized, I loved it. Being a nurse is my favorite thing outside of my family.”

Three years ago, Schultz came to Methodist and worked on the surgical trauma floor. About a year ago, she moved to the surgical trauma ICU.

She works three 12-hour night shifts each week, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Her favorite patients are those that come in really sick and have remarkable recovery.

“Any time you see full circle success stories, it’s always awesome,” she says.

More with Schultz

Personal: She is married to Derek, co-host of the Indianapolis afternoon sports radio talk show Query & Schultz. The couple have one son, James, a year and a half old.

Outside of Methodist: Schultz loves spending time with her family. They like to go out to eat and try new restaurants and, of course, love going to and watching sporting events.

After trauma ICU: “I love end of life care,” she says. “When I’m not able to be a floor nurse anymore, I want to do hospice. I hate people not being with somebody at the end. I like being there and taking care of people in their final time.”

— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

   Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.

Sisters, Nurses Share Special Bond

Like most sisters, they bickered in high school but once they started college, Payton and Sutton Knapp were inseparable.

“She has a heart of gold,” said Payton Knapp about her older sister. These days the sisters share their passion for nursing in the same hospital – IU Health University. Payton works in bone marrow transplant and Sutton works in surgical oncology. They also share the same manager.

Payton says she chose nursing before her sister did but Sutton says they were destined to pursue careers in healthcare.

“Our mom worked in a hospital cardiology department so Payton and I grew up in the hospital,” said Sutton. Their parents are Martin and Melia Knapp. At Decatur Central the sisters ran cross-country and participated on the swim team together.

Sutton started working at University Hospital first and Payton followed two years ago. Sutton works nights and Payton works days.

“I love having my sister work at IU Health. This is such a great system, and hospital, to work for, especially when you are first starting out in nursing. IU offers so many opportunities to help you grow in your field and I feel as though everyone really strives to create a sense of community and family here. It is really special to me that she chose to work at the same hospital, and that she actually works on our unit’s ‘sister unit,’” said Sutton.

Payton said she loves the patients she works with and the other nurses on her team. “I’ll just poke my head out of any room and they’ll come running,” said Payton. 

It’s not unusual for the sisters to share nursing stories, celebrate accomplishments and mourn the passing of a patient. 

“It just makes it ten times better to have a sister who shares your passion for nursing,” said Sutton.

And there’s something else they share too. Sutton will be married in September and Payton will be standing by her side as her maid of honor.

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

She’s The Fifth of Eleven

When she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia Mary Kay Chupp left her close-knit southern Indiana community and came to IU Health Simon Cancer Center for treatment.

Beside her bed is a copy of the book “The Flight from Stonewycke,” a trilogy by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. The book is a saga about three generations of an aristocratic Scottish family.

Like the characters in the book, Mary Kay Chupp is part of a close-knit family from Fredericksburg, a southern Indiana town of fewer than 100 people. The community is part of a 68-mile route that includes Amish settlements in Daviess, Orange and Washington Counties.

Back home, Chupp, who just celebrated her 24th birthday, lives in a six-bedroom house, the fifth of 11 children born to Floyd and Rosie Chupp. She first came to IU Health University Hospital in May after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

She had been battling a cold and sore throat for a week when her parents took her to their local doctor. She was treated for strep but the symptoms became worse. At first they thought she might have mono but lab work showed she had AML. At IU Health she is under the care of Dr. S. Hamid H. Sayer who specializes in hematology and oncology.

“We like to do everything we can to treat at home but knew we had no other options but to get medial help. We wanted the best for her and that’s how we ended up here,” said Rosie Chupp who has been with her daughter every day since she was admitted. Mary Kay is soft-spoken. Her smile reveals pink bands on her braces as she talks about her interest in reading her life back home.

Her mom turned one of the bedrooms into a sewing room and does some hemming for local customers. Mary Kay helps. She also works in her father’s cabinet shop. Mostly she helps around the house. The family raises vegetables in a large garden, and fruit trees in an orchard. They also raise hair sheep, miniature ponies, and horses to pull their buggy. They have steers for meat and several dogs as pets.

One day a week Mary Kay helps with laundry, one day she helps with sewing, and another day she bakes. She’s known for her chocolate chip cookies and she loves to prepare Mexican dishes for family meals.

She completed eighth grade at Twin Oaks School and enjoys spending evenings and weekends with her church youth group – playing softball or volleyball, attending picnics, singing hymns, or going on camping trips. Rosie Chupp can trace her family’s roots back to the 1800s. Her family is part of the New Order Amish.

“People know Mary Kay for her big smile. She’s always been quiet since she was a baby. In fact she’s very much a mama’s girl, but she’s also a friend to everyone,” said Rosie Chupp. “When word spread about her diagnosis, people were shocked.”

Church and community members have provided meals and financial assistance for the family and helped work on the farm.

“This is a very aggressive disease and it’s harder to treat but our goal would be a stem cell transplant,” said Rosie Chupp. “We don’t know what’s in store for Mary Kay long term. It’s every girl’s dream to get married. There’s no one special yet but we have to see what God has planned for her.”

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

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