The New Year has started with medical difficulties for baby Parker Lynn, who was born prematurely in 2019 and suffers from chronic lung disease.
But thanks to a compassionate health-care worker at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center in Iowa, Parker’s hospital stay has been filled with extra love.
Parker was born to her proud parents, Jacob and Cassie Baker, at just 23 weeks in 2019.
The micro-preemie spent more than 200 days in the NICU, growing strong enough to go home last summer.
But Parker is back in the hospital again, fighting for her life after contracting two viruses that are wreaking havoc on her already compromised lungs.
Parker has been kept heavily sedated and medically paralyzed, surviving on ECMO to give her lungs time to heal.
The sight of their daughter lying paralyzed in a hospital bed has been hard on Parker’s parents, but knowing that she is in good hands has helped calm their fears.
Dane Pratt, a cardiovascular perfusionist at MercyOne, has been doing more than is required to monitor baby Parker. Pratt has been reading to the little girl at her bedside, a loving and compassionate gesture that Cassie Baker has appreciated.
“He just one day scooted up to her bedside, opened a book, and read to her,” Baker told WOI.
“It was just, as a parent, it just makes you feel so at home and at ease knowing that there are medical professionals that don’t just see this as a job and are still compassionate.”
Pratt knows that no parent wants their child in a hospital bed but hopes to do what he can to make the journey a bit more comfortable.
“Going the extra mile doesn’t mean you actually have to walk a mile,” Pratt said. “Sometimes it’s as easy as reading a book.”
Pratt has started a book drive, inviting people to bring new or gently used books to the pediatric floor at MercyOne Des Moines.
Jacob Barker is optimistic that his daughter will pull through.
“She’s fighting — she’s gonna prove everybody wrong,” he said. “She has a mission in life and she’s gonna fulfill that. She’s gonna do big things.”