Doctors and Nurses Give Emotional Send-Off to Toddler Who Spent 500 Days in the Hospital

Little Jack Shields and his twin were born premature and developed a chronic lung condition called bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

For the last 500 days, little Jack Shields called the hospital his home. So when it came time for him be discharged, staff celebrated his improved health with a sweet goodbye.

Jack and his dad, Joe Shields, were met with a row of smiling nurses and doctors, who bid them farewell with hugs.

“He’s a fighter, and he’s overcome every challenge he’s faced with a smile on his face,” Shields said, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “He’s going to have a wonderful life.”

Jack and his twin brother, Jonah, were born 14 weeks early and both developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung condition.

Jack’s condition ended up being direr than his twin’s, and he spent nearly 500 days at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

While most other facilities’ approach is to sedate young patients for their ventilator treatment, the staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital use a different approach, where they deliver ventilator therapy to babies while they play, which helps them work toward milestones and other developmental goals.

“You’re much more likely to find patients playing on a mat on the floor than you are in a bed, laying there getting ventilator therapy,” said Dr. Leif Nelin, division chief of neonatology.

Shields credits the approach for all the strength Jack was able to build in his time at the hospital, and said he has high hopes for the 19-month-old at a less intensive facility closer to their home in Pittsburgh.