Health Notes from Dartmouth-Hitchcock: Our patients, our stories
December 05. 2017 1:00AM
Have you seen this billboard?
Ever wonder who the boy is in the photo?
What’s his story? And what does “more powerful than medicine” mean?
Camden White’s main memory from his tractor accident when he was 4 and his subsequent flight on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) helicopter and long stay in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD)?
His mother, Susan White, explains that it was a month until he could eat solids, and finally being able to eat pancakes was obviously a real treat.
Camden, now in middle school, lives with his family high on a hill in West Windsor, Vt. His parents have been taking him to visit the DHART hospital and crew frequently for years.
“It’s kind of who I am; it’s part of my life. It changed my life. It’s cool what they do,” Camden says.
His father, Greg White, says Camden has spotted the DHART helicopter in Maine, near Boston and flying overhead in West Windsor. “He knows it by the sound.”
The family always receives a warm welcome when they visit DHART.
“He climbs right in the pilot’s seat like he owns it,” Greg White says.
The family speaks fondly of the flight paramedic who cared for him during the flight and whom they especially credit with saving Camden’s life. He constantly visited Camden in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“He was as happy as we were with the outcome,” Susan White says.
Camden’s DHART ride
Camden had been riding on a farm tractor when he fell off and was run over by the farm implement behind the tractor. He had six skull fractures.
For the first two weeks in the hospital, his parents were with him 24/7. They deeply appreciated that at least one member of the DHART team visited the family every day for the month Camden was at CHaD.
“We are very fortunate to have DHART in our backyard. To have that level of professionals in a rural area is really important. It takes bravery to get up in that bird every day. We don’t take them for granted at all!” Greg White says.
Susan White explains that throughout Camden’s long recovery, which included a stay at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital because he couldn’t stand, the family received incredible support.
His preschool teachers came and read to him, and classmates held up a sign when they posed for the school photo reading, “We miss you, Cam!”
“We received prayers, emails, letters and food. Friends and neighbors visited us in Boston. I went to a conference on resiliency sometime after Cam’s accident, and the speaker asked, ‘What does resiliency mean?’ I said, ‘I’ve lived it. It’s when a whole community wraps itself around your family during a time of adversity and helps you heal.’ And that includes not only friends and family, but also Dartmouth-Hitchcock and DHART.”
One of Camden’s prized possessions is a DHART crew cap given to him by surgeon Kurt Rhynhart, M.D. Greg White says it is quite an honor.
“Even crew members don’t get a cap until it is presented to them after they have done something significant; it’s kind of a rite of passage. I guess Dr. Rhynhart thought Camden earned his stripes — his crew cap.”
Today Camden loves hockey, swimming, football and lacrosse. And he has no fear of tractors.
“We have closed cabs now; one even includes a child’s seat,” Greg White says.
Along with firefighting and the Navy, serving on the DHART crew is on Camden’s list of top three career goals.
“They are so skilled at what they do!” Camden says.
For us, that’s what “more powerful than medicine” means.