Former Watertown Resident donates ‘heartwarming’ gift to children at Samaritan Medical Center

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Samaritan Medical Center nurses pose with Medi Teddys® donated by former Watertown resident Sue Washburn. The bears, which conceal the IV bags of pediatric patients, also have a North Country connection.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Samaritan Medical Center Foundation recently received a special donation from a former Watertown resident.

Former Watertown resident Sue Washburn donated 100 Medi Teddy® IV bag covers after holding a fundraiser for her birthday to purchase the Medi Teddys. This is the second year that Sue had provided needed items to the hospital. The IV bag covers were donated to be used in child-centered areas of the hospital, including the Emergency Department, Pediatrics Unit and Surgical Services.

The friendly IV bag covers were created by a young girl who was in a hospital bed just like those receiving the Medi Teddys at Samaritan.

Ella Casano was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, which is a blood disorder characterized by an abnormal decrease in the number of platelets in the blood. According to the Medi Teddy website, many kids who are diagnosed with the disease grow out of it in a few months, but Ella has never outgrown the disease.

During her many hours in the hospital receiving countless scary infusion treatments because of her rare case, she thought of the Medi Teddy, a fun bear that could help ease the fears of other young patients like her. The Medi Teddy hides the bag of IV fluid, medication, or blood hanging from the IV pole, which can be scary for the child who is receiving it, and instead provides a fun and friendly face for the child to look at.

Ella’s mom, Meg Casano, explained in a press release from Samaritan, that the cleverly designed teddy bear covers the IV bag while still making it possible for medical staff to see the medication or blood products inside, because there is a mesh back. Casano has roots in the North Country as her parents are originally from Henderson Harbor, bringing the donation full circle.

Vice President of Foundation and Community Services at Samaritan Elizabeth Fipps said the connection made the donation that much more special.

“Our patients and community have benefited from the giving spirit of these two North Country-connected women, and we hope that will inspire others,” Fipps said.

More information about Ella’s story and her invention can be found on the Medi Teddy website.

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