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Paul & Susan's Story

  • Author: Paul & Susan
  • Category: Donor Testimonials

“You never really need a hospital … until you do! And then you really need it.”

These are the words of Paul Shimoff, a man who has never spent a night in Redlands Community Hospital (RCH). Yet, Paul speaks passionately about the expert care his family received at RCH.

Not once but twice, Paul and his wife, Susan, waited in agony while the lives of precious newborn grandchildren, Mila and Nora, hung in the balance. In those dark hours they wondered if they would ever get to feel the warmth of their baby granddaughter in their arms … if they would know the joy of watching her grow up … if they would hear her calling them by their favorite names, Momo and Pa.

Every gift does make a difference.

Mila was born in the spring of 2014. The delivery was difficult, and Mila turned blue … then purple. She was immediately in the expert care of the doctors and nurses who worked feverishly to save her. The nursing staff was on full alert for 48 hours. Nobody rested. Fast forward to today. Mila is in kindergarten and — as Paul will tell you — “just as cute as can be!”

Some three years after Mila’s arrival, the family was expecting once again. The due date was in late January 2018, but in October 2017, Mila’s mother, Lisa, was teaching first grade when — three months early — something went very wrong. A coworker rushed Lisa to Redlands Community Hospital.

There the staff sprang into action to save the lives of both the mother … and the infant.

Baby Nora, born at only 27 weeks, weighed 2.1 pounds at birth. She fit in the palm of a hand. In the next days, her weight dropped to less than 2 pounds.

Paul recounts the grave anxiety of the 73 days little Nora was in NICU receiving round-the-clock care. “I saw her in a fully contained, climate-controlled system, with so many tubes in her … When a baby is born at 27 weeks, the lungs and brain haven’t fully developed. As a result, Nora hadn't entirely learned how to breathe. While I was there, one of the alarms went off, and the nurse calmly put her gloved hand through a portal and began to massage Nora’s back. I asked her what she was doing, and she said, ‘Oh, Nora stopped breathing, so I’m reminding her to breathe.’

“What impressed Susan and me the most was the level of sophistication within the nursing staff. The physicians were extraordinary.

“A day or two after Nora was born one of the nurses told me, ‘Nora’s going to be just fine.’ I was thinking, ‘How do you know?’ As if reading my mind, she continued, ‘I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I can spot the fighters. Your granddaughter is a fighter. It’s not going to be a linear process, and there will be problems. But whatever they are, they’ll be solvable.’

That’s the kind of care that gave Paul and Susan a birthday to celebrate just a few short weeks ago with granddaughter Nora. “Two years old, and she’s cute, cute, cute!”

For 115 years, Redlands Community Hospital has been caring for your neighbors and loved ones. Each year, 2,500 babies are born at Redlands Community Hospital — little ones whose lives are, quite simply, priceless.

Some — like Nora — would not make it without the combination of technology and expert caregivers by their side 24/7.