Toddler Gets Levine Children’s Care Close to Home at Atrium Health Union

Child Health | one month ago

Toddler Gets Levine Children’s Care Close to Home at Atrium Health Union

When 15-month-old James Meckola started having breathing issues, his mom, Juliann, knew he was in good hands at Atrium Health Union.
It’s common for children to develop respiratory infections, and most cases aren’t serious. But sometimes, these illnesses cause dangerous symptoms, like trouble breathing. That’s what happened to 15-month-old James Meckola.

James started having congestion one night and his symptoms soon turned into wheezing. His mom, Juliann, a former emergency department nurse, gave him breathing treatments, but his condition didn’t improve. She took him to a nearby Atrium Health urgent care, where his oxygen levels dropped and his condition began to decline. The urgent care team immediately called emergency medical services (EMS) to transport the toddler to Atrium Health Union.

“It was honestly really scary,” says Juliann. “But I had been an emergency department nurse for several years before and was a house supervisor at Atrium Health Union before having James, so I knew he was in good hands.”

James’ Diagnosis

James was diagnosed with bronchiolitis.

“Bronchiolitis is a viral infection that affects the small airways in children under the age of 2,” says Dr. Sumreen Hussain, a Pediatric Hospitalist and Site-based Medical Director at Atrium Health Union. “James responded well to albuterol [a medication to treat breathing issues], although not all children do. He was also on a high-flow nasal cannula, which provides oxygen and positive airway pressure, making it easier for James to breathe.”

Levine Children’s Care and Expertise, Close to Home

Though James responded well to the medicine, bronchiolitis is a serious condition that can lead to other complications, especially for young children like James, so it was important he was closely monitored. The decision was made to admit him for further care and thanks to the Levine Children’s multidisciplinary team specialized in caring for children at Atrium Health Union, James and his family were able to receive the high level of care James needed without being transferred to another hospital.

“The pediatric hospital medicine team includes pediatric physicians and advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to provide 24/7 care for children admitted at Atrium Health Union,” says Dr. Hussain. “All of our physicians are Board-certified in Pediatrics, and most are Board-certified in Pediatric Hospital Medicine as well. Many of our nurses and respiratory therapists also have pediatric certifications.”

In addition, all Atrium Health Union pediatric physicians and advanced practice providers are part of Atrium Health Levine Children’s.

“Most of our physicians split our time between Levine Children’s Hospital and Atrium Health Union, so patients see the same doctors as they would at Levine Children’s in Charlotte,” says Hussain. “Additionally, our nursing teams collaborate with Levine Children’s for education and all of our protocols and policies are consistent across the system.”

Video conferencing with the Levine Children’s team is available 24/7 for consultations on patient care if needed. This allows patients access to specific specialty care, like Infectious Disease and Hematology, while remaining close to home.

“The team at Atrium Health Union were all absolutely amazing,” says Juliann. “From urgent care to EMS to the emergency department staff, respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners and dietary, truly everyone made us feel welcome, explained everything so well, were patient and did all they could to make the little guy smile.”

James’ Family is Thankful for His Full Recovery

Juliann says James is feeling much better thanks to the care he received at Atrium Health Union. He’ll see a pulmonologist soon to help prevent future respiratory episodes.

As a mother and nurse, Juliann would “without a doubt” take James back to Atrium Health Union if he needed medical care.

“They reassured us and had several plans in case he declined,” she says. “The diligent care was wonderful.”

Juliann and her family are grateful for top-notch medical care close to their home in Indian Trail.

“It’s so important to have this level of care near home,” she says. “You never know what may happen. We took him to urgent care because he was still doing well and, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. Luckily, the hospital was nearby and they were waiting for him.”

Her message to the Atrium Health Union team: “Thank you for everything and for taking care of my baby. It was a very scary moment for us. We are now home and he's feeling so much better thanks to the amazing interdisciplinary team at Union.”

Learn more about Atrium Health Union and pediatric care at Atrium Health Union.