Kansas City,
09:30 AM

Culture of LOVE Provides Inspiration

By Emily Barker

Barker_twins_3My story starts a little over nine years ago. My husband and I were so excited for our twins to be born. (We were married for 10 years before we were able to have children.) McKinzie and Hudson were born at 36 weeks, and shortly thereafter we learned Hudson had a heart defect. We had no idea prior to their birth, so it was a heavy blow to take. A Children’s Mercy cardiologist came to Liberty Hospital to assess our son and give us the diagnosis: tetralogy of Fallot. We were devastated, but at least we had hope that this was a defect that could be repaired, and if so, he could live a full life.

Seven months later, we were at Children’s Mercy and Hudson was undergoing open-heart surgery. The surgery was a success, but it wasn’t easy. We had a couple of setbacks, and recovery was a roller-coaster, with good days and hard days. Throughout everything, the staff at Children’s Mercy treated our son as if he were theirs. I believe this is the type of love that Alice Berry Graham and Katharine Berry Richardson had for children when they first started Children’s Mercy, and it continues to this day.

The hospital staff not only make you feel welcome, but a part of the family. Every decision was made with care and love for Hudson so he could get better and thrive. Every single employee has that same goal. They go about it in different ways, as they have different jobs, but they have the same universal goal. I believe it takes a very special type of person to be employed at Children’s Mercy. I have found one common denominator in every employee I meet: LOVE. A person must have love in their heart to be here. It reflects in everything they do, and that is why they’re here – I am certain.

In our two-week stay, I had lots of time to think. Think and watch. While Hudson recovered from surgery, I watched the dynamic, the culture at the hospital. I thought to myself, ‘I HAVE to work here!” But with a degree in merchandising, I thought, “Why would they ever hire me?” I thought I had no chance. I kept thinking about it – I felt like I was supposed to be at Children’s Mercy. I didn’t know how, or why, but I needed to try.

I am so glad I did. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done! Seven years later, I’m the office coordinator of the Respiratory Care department. I love it.

Hudson is a regular, thriving 9-year-old boy who loves to rile up his twin sister. We are so lucky. You know, it’s funny – I grew up here and was aware of Children’s Mercy, but never thought twice of it. I realize now how much of an exceptional gem Children’s Mercy is for Kansas City, and how there is no other place like it in the Heartland. Patients come from near and far to this special place – for healing, for care, and for love. Patients know when they come to Children’s Mercy they’ll get love, and I believe that fact is what will drive us to become the best Children’s Mercy we can be in the future.


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