Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: November 27, 2023 Editor's Letter

From the Editor: We all have healthcare heroes

A boy and a nurse walk down the corridor of Boston Children's Hospital Photo | Sarah Kane Desmond Kane and Riley Devlin

When I walked into my son’s hospital room this past October, and nearly the first words out of my wife’s mouth were, “Honey, Mcphillips is amazing. We’re talking Riley level,” I knew we were in good hands.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

My son, Desmond, had been at Boston Children’s Hospital for almost a week at that point, as he had been suffering from fainting spells and his medical team was trying to diagnose the cause. This stint in the hospital came two years after Desmond had stayed at BCH for nearly seven continuous months in a behavioral health crisis, an experience I detailed in previous columns.

Long hospital stays are their own special form of excruciation, as you’re often waiting for days or even weeks between medical tests and monitoring to find the root cause of your problem, and the quality of your nurse can make or break your entire day. In the hospital, the nurses run the show for patients, as they are in charge of everything from medication administration, your food, sleep schedule, meal times, and how much interaction and entertainment you receive each day, which is especially important for Desmond, a special needs teenager with particular tastes and aversions to the environment around him.

A blond woman in a black turtleneck
Riley Devlin

During Desmond’s seven-month stay at BCH, we were blessed with a number of high-quality nurses, but none more than Riley Devlin, a young woman who repeatedly requested Desmond to be her patient at the start of her shift, even after he kicked and broke her ribs amid one of his outbursts. She played with him, made sure he took all of his medications, brought specially requested food (including a McDonald’s Happy Meal I’m fairly certain she bought with her own money), and built a cardboard Lightning McQueen car he could sit in. Whenever my wife and I couldn’t be at the hospital, we were confident Riley was there, taking care of him.

A man with black hair and a white shirt smiles brightly
Mcphillips Akukwe

Similarly, Desmond was assigned another amazing nurse – Mcphillips Akukwe – in his much shorter hospitalization this fall. This stint, though, was much more harrowing, as Desmond needed almost constant vigilance to prevent against serious injury from his fainting spells. Yet, Mcphillips was there, making everything easier. With a big smile and engaging personality, he kept Desmond entertained, stayed on top of all his medical needs, constantly filled his stash of white-cheddar popcorn (Desmond is a big-time snacker), and calmed our own frayed nerves as he requested Desmond for all his shifts, until Desmond had a treatment plan and was discharged.

In the Nov. 27 print edition, WBJ launched its inaugural Champions of Health Care awards, honoring 12 Central Massachusetts professionals making significant impacts on the industry. Yet, when I think of healthcare heroes, I look at it from the patient perspective, during some of the most troubling times in my life, when emotions were raw. I think of the heroes who gave us strength to carry on. I think of Riley and Mcphillips.

Brad Kane is editor of the Worcester Business Journal.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF