by A. Dawn McConkey
The day our son was born turned out to be quite a nightmare.
We had no idea that he had a serious heart defect and a plethora of other problems. The medical staff wasn’t prepared. There were no specialists on hand, so no one was ready when my little guy turned blue and stopped crying.
Later, a man I’d never seen before entered my room with my husband in tow. Standing at the foot of my bed, Dr. Sushant explained that Children’s Hospital had sent a mobile ICU to transport Jacob to a better-equipped hospital. He explained dreadful things about my child, speaking softly but in a positive and upbeat manner with a smile on his lips.
From some doctors, this behavior may have seemed condescending, but Dr. Sushant’s sincere faith that my little boy would be fine was highly contagious. When he said something, I believed it.
I developed a staph infection the next day and was further devastated because I was unable to be released to join my son. Dr. Sushant was by my side when I woke up. His face was worried, but he still had that smile. He said, “We almost lost you. Now you get better, because Jacob needs you.”
I later learned that Dr. Sushant had been the hospital’s on-call pediatrician when Jacob was born. It was because of him that my son survived. Then he spent the day at the hospital out of concern for a mother who was being separated from her very sick infant.
He visited me twice a day because he was calling Jacob’s hospital up to four times a day, and he wanted to come and tell me in person what the doctors were telling him. He drew pictures of Jacob’s heart to explain what was going on and how it would be corrected. The nurses said he loved our family and didn’t want me to be scared.
These days, it’s rare to find a doctor who remembers a face from one visit to the next. For months, Dr. Sushant saw Jacob every two weeks. He kept in constant contact with Jacob’s other doctors. He came to Jacob’s parties and even showed him off to his sweet wife.
His billing office was instructed to write off any amount that wasn’t paid by insurance. Once, when we were worried about losing our home to medical bills, he went so far as to offer to put us up in his home. He was laughing at the time, but I don’t think he was kidding. Dr. Sushant is a wonderful person — one whose every move is fueled by love.