When milestones, such as the first Christmas, are celebrated in the hospital, Mercy Kids co-workers try to make them extra special. For the tiniest patients, an early visit from Saint Nicholas is just what the doctor ordered.
Santa, also known as Steve Rupp, has been visiting babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mercy in St. Louis for more than 25 years. Nurses and parent volunteers come in on their days off to make sure the visit is perfect.
“Today’s my off day and I came to be an elf for Santa,” said Yolanda Tatum, RN, clinical nurse at Mercy Children's Hospital. “It’s very special. We have photographers come in and set up a studio in each NICU room. If the babies are too small to be held, Santa gets close to the isolette and has a picture taken that way.”
For parents whose wish is to have their babies home for the holidays, Santa’s visit makes an impact.
“Prescott is 2 1/2 months,” said Jennifer Beasley. “This was really great today. Having a baby in the hospital is always difficult and sometimes it’s even more difficult around the holidays. So days like today just put a smile on our face and help us make it another day.”