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Tell Us Your Story

What is Your Story?

Do you have a unique story about your experience with East Tennessee Children's Hospital? Click the button below, leave us a few sentences of the story you have to tell, and join our collection displayed on this page.

Tell Us Your Story

ETCH North Tower Sketch and Real LifeEast Tennessee Children's Hospital is celebrating its 85th Anniversary, remembering 85 years of serving the healthcare needs of kids in East Tennessee and beyond. In that span of time, many children, families, physicians and staff have come through our doors, each with their own set of unique stories. In this 85th Anniversary year, we would like to collect and relate some of those stories to you.

On this page you will see a sampling of those stories of hope, of loss, of pain and of joy. Stories where the simple honesty of a child made us laugh, and the gentle love of a mom and dad for their child moved you to tears. We want to hear from you, and we want to share these stories with the world. Submit your stories using the button to the right, we'll post the best ones here for all to enjoy, and we may contact you to learn more...

If you have a story about your experience with Children's Hospital and would like to contact us directly, call us at  (865) 541-8441.

I was a surgical patient several times in the 1950's. The nurses and other staff were always so friendly, kind, and cheerful. I especially remember being in the hospital on my birthday one year, and the kitchen staff made a cake for me. ETCH was a major part of my childhood, and I have good memories despite my reason for being there.

-Nikki

My son was born may 26th at fort sanders 2022. When he was born he came out with breathing problems. Later that day it got no better so they transferred him to childrens. My heart was broken. He spent 5 days there. The staff was amazing. He had wonderful nurses. Any questions I had they answered. They have a special place in my heart. I love the new nicu department & staff

-Daja

The hospital was my home away from home when I was little. My son when he was little he had seizures and he spent some time their.

-Mary

My 4 year old son treated for Wilm's tumor 1983--best doctors and nurses ever! No ports then so every infusion required IV sticks He is 43 and has 2 children.

-Kathy

My 3lb. baby spent his first 7 weeks in the NICU. Some of his Amazing nurses even made him clothes. At that time, 38 years ago, one nurse assistant was known for teaching babies to eat. They laughingly said she could get a rock to eat. It worked. She taught him, and to this day, the boy LOVES food! I will forever be in their debt for the care of my miracle baby!

-Toni

My son was born at 29 weeks, only weighing 1 pound and 15 ounces. He spent 10 weeks at ETCH. The nurses and doctors in the NICU were amazing at helping our boy heal and come home. We are so very thankful to ETCH and the ability they have to give life saving help to micro preemies such as they did for our son.

-Stacy

ETCH saved my daughters life! She became an oncology patient in 2012 and is currently a survivor patient. The entire staff treated and still treats her like their own and made us feel like family through our extensive stays!

-Nickie

Our sweet Ava was seen by Dr. Peeden in the rare diagnostic clinic in the Summer of 2017. She was three and we had searched and searched for answers. He put us on the road to wellness for her and we can never thank him enough. Dr Peeden, Dr. Childs and Dr. Crain treated Ava in the PICU and saved her life. Amazing medical staff and true Heroes🤍

-Nikki

I have hydrocephalus. I have a shunt. I have had 53 brain surgeries, all of which have been at East TN Childrens Hospital. The staff at Childrens has become family to me. No better place than Childrens!

-Alexa

My son was born 12 weeks early due to health issues I was having. We are going on month 2 of our NICU stay. I can’t thank NICU nurses and doctors enough for doing a fantastic job with boy. Him being my first child and being in the NICU has been a learning curve for us all and we couldn’t have picked a better hospital!

-Emily

Our son came to ETCH at 1 wk old bc of a metabolic disease & his life was saved in the PICU. 10 years later, he has been hospitalized here 3 times in 3 months battling bowel disease. Our boy has changed, the faces of staff have changed, but the quality of care & extreme support we’ve received remain the same. Thank you for being his lifeline & saving grace for a decade.

-Beth Ann

As a 9 year old during a check-up, the doctor found a Lymphangioma mass in my throat that was 90% cancerous. A “birthmark” was found in my brain and doubled in size when I was 17. On Jan 7, 2009 I had brain surgery to remove this tumor followed by daily physical/occupation therapy for 9 mos. I’m now a 30 year old with a family and 2 amazing children!

-Stanton

Son had pneumonia and was allergic to that strain of it, so he had hives. Dr's treated him great. We were there a week.

-Michelle

My son Lucas spent 3 and a half month in the PICU at ETCH. He had the best nurses and doctors I could’ve asked for. He’s had lazor eye surgery and had a gtube placed and jaw extraction surgery. We still have our routine appointments with doctors at ETCH. We have always felt like famil their and we’ve always felt like home. He is now 1 year old and 19 pounds! Thanks ETCH

-Whitney Valentine

My daughter was born with a rare severe gastrointestinal birth defect, unbeknownst to us prior to her birth. She had many surgeries and DR appts for years. When the doctors told us we would not recognize her 5-6 years later, we were in disbelief. She struggled with short bowel & other complications from surgeries. She is now a picture of health. We are so grateful! 💕

-Amy

Our son was only 27 months old when he was diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor. After many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and thanks to the staff at ETCH, particularly Dr. Pais, he is now 31 years old and a practicing pharmacist, who just welcomed his first child, a son, into the world.

-Mary Anne

My daughter had E-Coli and ETCH was the absolute best. We love them.

-Lisa

My 19 year old Yassin was admitted at 10 months 2 days. He had difficulty breathing and was flown to ETCH he was placed on a ventilator for 4 days the doctors said he wasn’t gonna make it. I’ll never forget that feeling to hear those words when was finally stabilized he had 2 nurses Julie & Beth (which is my name and my sister) To this day don’t know what caused it.

-Julie Ruiz

I was born 4 weeks premature in 1986 at Ft. Sanders Medical Center and rushed to ETCH where it was discovered I had a cleft palate. I had surgery at 18 Months old. It was thought I would need speech therapy and possibly tubes in my ears. Thankfully, after some time it was determined none of that was needed. Thankful for the staff of ETCH for taking care of kids!

-Whitney

I was an RN at Children's for 13 years. Years of great love for the children who taught me so much.

-Darilyn

If I could sum up the NICU in two words it would be miracle workers! In March 22’ our newborn was diagnosed with ecoli meningitis but after 45 days we brought home a healthy baby boy! He is now 6 months, his last MRI didn’t show any significant issues and so far he doesn’t have any sign of developmental delays or any major health concerns. We LOVE ETCH.

-Katie

I was once a patient and being treated for a Wilm's tumor. 23 years later, I was going back to school to be a nurse practitioner and my pediatric preceptor was one of my chemo nurses!

-Niki

My son was hospitalized as a newborn. He couldn't tolerate any formula. Our pediatrician sent us to Children's. The staff took him immediately. We almost lost him that night. He spent several days in ICU and on the floor. Children's doctors made a diagnosis and put him on a formula he could tolerate. Now he is a state trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

-Becky

Our daughter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016. We spent much of the next three years at ETCH. The staff became like family to us. Our daughter passed away in September 2019, and her oncology doctor & some of the nurses & other staff came to her funeral. I am forever grateful for the care and attention we received there. Those people hold a special place in my heart.

-Rachel

My son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was a teenager! We had many visits to Children’s Hospital and clinic and they were always amazing! They make you feel like family and so good with kids! I loved all of his Doctors and Nurses and couldn’t have asked for a better place!

-Shawna

I had my son at 34wks on September 2,2010 & he was sent to ETCH before I was released from the hospital where I had him & the staff was amazing they'd call every hour or so to update me!I'm so thankful he was sent to a place where they care for them & love them as their own!ETCH became basically family & I'll never be able to thank them enough!

-Autumn

My daughter was having difficulties breathing at birth, we were sent to ETCH. the nurses and doctors In the NICU were quick to make sure she was comfortable and was getting the care she needed. She was diagnosed with laryngomalacia and was finally taken off oxygen and I held her after 4 days. The NICU staff will always hold a place in my heart!

-Megan

When I was 6 years old (1970 ) , I had a bicycle accident and was in a coma for 4 days. I remember waking up and asking " where am I and why does this gown have no back?"I fully recovered and am now a neonatal intensive care nurse.

-Becky

My kidney was saved by the best doctor, Preston Smith when I was 4. Despite all the obstacles, he never gave up! I will always remember and be grateful to him.

-Sierra

I have been a patient of ETCH since the day I was born. I was born 2 months prematurely with a cleft lip and palate. I stayed in the NICU and then became a patient in the cleft clinic. ETCH has always gone above and beyond for myself and my family: answering questions we had, comforting me about an upcoming surgery, and making me feel heard. Thank you for all you do ETCH!

-Nicole

My adopted daughter was brought to ETCH when she was 3 days old because she had begun going through drug withdrawals. She spent 1 month and 1 day there as they weaned her off of the drugs. The nurses were so compassionate to us. I will always be grateful for all of the time spent with us, the countless phone calls, and their encouraging words.

-Stephanie

I was diagnosed by the best surgeon who worked with ETCH with a benign tumor in my hip when I was 10 after 9 long months of pain, and had 2 surgeries there. I still have the handmade name tag from my door and stuffed dog I was given. ETCH and my surgeon changed my life in 2005 and made the process a good experience for a scared little girl and her family.

-Amanda

We stayed for a month in etch and I was just blown away at how friendly and helpful everyone was. The nurses not only took care of my son but they watched out for me as well. Etch is hands down the place to go for child’s hospital stay!

-Crystal

My daughter was diagnosed at 15 mths old with a rare disease called Histiocytosis. She was on chemo 3 times. The doctors and Nurses and staff are wonderful. She is well at age 32 now with a 12 yr old son. God is Good.

-Teresa for Brandi

My son spent a week in the PICU in 2018 after having multiple seizures. He went in having back to back seizures for hours.They didn’t stop until they were able to tell us what was going on. He had multiple tests ran and was seen by the very best doctors. We still regularly see Dr Gammeltoft at his office to keep him monitored. We can’t thank ETCH enough for taking care of

-Alisha

My daughter was born April 13, 2004 at 25 weeks. She was weighted 0 pounds 13.6 ounces 11.5 inches long. She spent 6 very long months in the NICU at ETCH. Because of ETCH, my daughter is alive today. Thank you ETCH.

-Jeannette

I was born at 26 weeks gestation and spent 5 months in the NICU. After SEVERAL complications, at one point I was given less than 2% chance of survival, but here I am, I will be 11 years old next week. My family is incredibly GRATEFUL to the hardworking team in the NICU that helped me fight that grim prognosis so that they could see me not only SURVIVE but THRIVE!!

-Ella

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child here. I am now almost 25 years old. The staff at ETCH made me feel safe, and cared for. And made it so much fun!! There was a whole closet of fun games and toys in the diabetes clinic. And a dog that came to visit. I will never forget it.

-Jesi

I was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma at the age of 16 months; thankfully, Dr. Pais had recently started at ETCH! Dr. Pais promised my mom that he would dance at my wedding and 24 years later he fulfilled that promise! I also had the pleasure of having Dr. Malik as my pediatrician before he joined the hem/onc staff at ETCH! Thanks ETCH and staff for your care!

-Ali

My son had respiratory distress and pneumonia at birth. He was intubated & unable to breath on his own for over 2 weeks. The doctors and nurses were amazing. There’s no doubt that ETCH NICU saved my sons life!

-Emily

Summer of 1954, I was very sick. Weeks went by and I wasn't getting any better. I was sent to Et. Tennessee Children's Hospital. I was diagnosed with Polio. I spent my 6th birthday in the hospital. I remember it well. I got better. Thankful for those that care of me. Et. Tn. Children's hospital.

-Billie

I was a six-year old little girl suffering for weeks with severe pain in my leg; scared to death of doctors. Not only was my Perthes quickly diagnosed, much to my parents’ relief, but I had the time of my life at Children’s. Art, books, a clown named Bobo, and the kindest doctors and nurses are still alive in my memories. It was 1968.

-Janet

Born in 1982 in Augusta GA. Transferred to ETCH at 3 no. Old. Parents were told I would be disabled. I’m 40 now and Hve worked healthcare for 20 + years.

-Dennis

My daughter Amaya was born in Dec 2021 without legs and external ears, cleft palate, and anomalies in her jaw & forearms. When born, she wasn’t breathing & was nearly impossible to intubate. She also had 7 surgeries in 6 months & 2 1/2 months were in the NICU. Thankful for Vickie and Tina and all other doctors/nurses that cared for not only my baby but our family as well!

-Jaylynn

We thought it was the flu but ETCH dug deeper. After an MRI, X-ray and then an ultrasound they found infection in her bone. Less than 12 hours later she was in surgery getting it cleaned out and a PICC line put in. ETCH saved my daughters life!

-Melinda

My daughter was born Oct 8th 2021 when I pregnant I knew she cleft pallette but didn't know how severe it would been . So my daughter was born at 4 pounds my daughter thought there was growth restrictions so they induced me early at 37 week which made me have a c section which she turned . So the very next day after I just had her literally they told me my baby next to Knoxville because she poorly eating & she under weight . So Knoxville came & got her . So I was going but of coarse I had other children that had make sure they had food at their grandma's. So me & husband had stay Knoxville for 2 weeks in nicu because she would not eat she was on a feeding tube it was so emotional time & very hard i had 3 other kids at home. Bout the last week I got her to eat for me & when she got to 5 pounds we was able to go home with her if it was not for Knoxville my daughter would died of starvation I believe I'm so thankful for them their wonderful hospital . Justin Daggett fixed my daughter nose & her lip he such a wonderful surgeon highly recommend him & cleft clinic is wonderful as well . Since we have moved it longer ride so we surgeon locally now for my daughter pallette to have surgery on . But east tn children is the best for children highly recommend them.

-Elizabeth

My son was in the NICU for a month with several health issues. The nurses were so kind to me and him. The Drs and nurses saved my son's life! I felt supported, heard, and knew they cared about what happened to my boy. He will be 8 next month!

-Lauren

My child was born extremely premature and was only 2 lbs 4 oz. She spent 42 days in the NICU at Children's where they gave her the best care. From the nurses, to the doctors and the cuddlers...it was top notch during what felt like one of the longest roller coasters of our lives. My kiddo will be 11 soon and we feel so much gratitude for those who cared for her during those 6 weeks. Without them, she may not have made it through those uncertain early days. We are forever grateful.

-Christine

My 4 year old son diagnosed with Wilm's tumor--radiation and chemotherapy by amazing oncology dept--he is now 43 years old with 2 children. BEST care ever from every doctor, nurse, support staff!!!

-Kathy

My parents had me in January of 1991 I spent the first 18 weeks of my life in the NICU and the other doctors told my parents I wouldn't live to be 2 hours old and your staff in the NICU proved that Dr wrong I'll be 32 January 9th of next year so from the bottom of my heart thank God you guys saved me your truly are a blessing from god

-Amy

I want to thank each of you at East Tennessee Children's hospital for saving my daughters life. When she was just a month old she was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. She was sent to you all for surgery. While we were there she was also diagnosed with apnea. We received the best care and hospitality with you all. She is now thriving and just turned 7. Thank you all for everything you do❤

-Jessica

My 3 day old baby was lifeless in the ER at ETCH. The entire team acted quickly and tested her for everything under the sun and still couldn't figure out what was wrong. The attending did two fast bolises which saved her brain.There was an ER nurse that suggested to check her ammonia as she had seen one other case in her 30 year career. My daughter's ammonia was 682. It was determined that my daughter had a rare disease that resulted in a missing liver enzyme called Urea Cycle Disorder. I have wanted to locate this nurse to thank her all these years. My baby was admitted on 12/2/2013. Please reach out if you were this nurse!! She was transferred via pedi ambulance to Vanderbilt right after.

-Rachael

I had my first child at 28 weeks and he was sent to the children's NICU. I lost him the same day he was born but if it wasn't for the care of the outstanding nurses and staff I wouldn't have been able to say goodbye to him. Less than a year after the NICU staff took care of my rainbow baby and got her healthy enough to send home to me! Forever grateful to Children's!

-Genna Maggie

I was 19 years old, pregnant with my first baby. Alexander came into this world at 30 weeks, 3lb .9ozs, February 24th 2010. He was in the NICU for 6 weeks and 1 day. The staff was absolutely amazing with the both of us, I was a terrified first time mom. The nurses in the NICU were the best and helped me understand so much about being a mom. Alexander is now a strong, healthy, perfect 12 year old.

-Savannah

Our story began in 1985, we were 17 and 21 ……living on love you could say. March 2,1985 we gave birth to Christopher…..the light of our life was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, Myelomeningocele, Bilateral Club Feet and a host of other problems. My husband and I were overwhelmed and very young but ETCH made things understandable, as we walked trough the procedures one amazing nurse by the name of Pat McMurrary help this young family through the maze of confusion. Our beautiful child was so blessed by ETCH….we as a family was Blessed! Our son had the best until we let the Heavens take him on July 9, 1985. Our favorite nurse was by our side along with Dr. Null until they could do no more. His sister was born March 3rd, 1986…one year and one day from our beloved Christopher…..the first person we told was our beloved nurse Pat. Our daughter now 36 is a RN and honoring the medical field. Thank you ETCH…..you will forever be our ♥.

-Kim

I was 5 years old in 1976. I got very sick with encephalitis. My family was vacationing in NC. My mom was so scared but she knew she wanted me cared for at ETCH so my parents drove through the night to get me to the hospital. I spent a week on third floor and my parents were so grateful for the care I received. Fast forward 45 years, I’ve been a Social Worker at ETCH for almost 15 years and both my boys have been cared for at Childrens. I am so thankful we have this wonderful hospital in our community and I’m proud to serve alongside the most amazing medical professionals.

-Camille

My little girl was born with a cleft lip, at 2 months old she had her first surgery. Dr. Ray done an amazing job!! You can’t even tell she’s had any surgeries. She is 10 years old now and has had 5 surgeries all together, and ETCH staff is always amazing with my daughter. We are thankful for Dr. Ray and all of the staff there.♥

-Kendra

I first entered the doors ETCH as the parent of 3wk old daughter whose life was saved by the ED staff in 1990. Over the next 7 days, I did not leave for more than 2 hours. I immediately learned to appreciate the dedicated staff here who went out of their way- from ER registration to PICU staff, a wonderful cardiologist and social work. I was taught infant CPR, met Home Health after discharge and every single encounter had a positive impact. My daughter's last visit here at the ER was within two weeks of her turning 21. When a ER physician advised her she was of appropriate age for adult care, she smiled and told him this was her hospital even if she needed care the night before her 21st birthday. I was already on staff at that time. I chose ETCH when I reentered the job market after years at a family business. I accepted a job as a registrar in the ED that saved my child's life. I've spent the last 15 years evolving with this hospital. Currently I train incoming registration staff while working within the Admitting/PBX department. Always proud to care for our patients, support their families and overall I enjoy the time spent with co-workers. When unpleasant events of the job get me down, I remind myself how blessed I was 30 plus years ago and keep trying to give back.

-Leisa

My daughter was born at 33 weeks with Gastroschisis, and I am very thankful for the advancement in medicine that has allowed the amazing team at Children’s NICU to care for her and her issues! They are amazing!

-Abigayl

In August 1984, I got to have my first trip to ETCH. My adventure took place in the neonatal intensive care area for a couple weeks. My parents weren't able to make the initial trip with me, so the wonderful nurses made them a keepsake book of my stay. They wrote daily journal messages and took pictures. I still have this little book, and it is very special to me. So thank you for helping create this memory!!

-Sheena

A small encounter I had several years ago sums up what ETCH is, and what we must never lose. A mother brought her daughter to the hospital for an EKG. She told me that on their way, she expressed some anxiousness to her daughter about both the EKG and the fact that they had never before been inside ETCH. Her daughter's response to those concerns was "Mom, don't worry. Of course they're going to be nice to us there. It's a children's hospital."

-Bob