Pint-sized superhero bonds with nurses

Patient Stories |


Crew and mom Craft

His Spidey sense didn’t alert this Carmel boy to danger, but the superhero nurses at Riley at IU Health North saved the day.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist,

Chelsea Kopelman says upfront her 3-year-old is “a wild child.”

That’s how mom and son ended up in the emergency department at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health North in Carmel recently.

Crew and Chelsea in the ER

Crew, wearing his favorite Spiderman sweatshirt, was channeling his inner superhero self while doing flips and tricks off the couch at home, his mom said. He lost his footing and hit the back of his head on the corner of a wall.

“He had a pretty deep cut on his noggin,” said Chelsea, who also has a 6-month-old with her husband, Peter. “And it was pretty bloody.”

Off they went to the nearest emergency room – IU Health North.

“For kids’ injuries, I’ve heard that’s the place you want to go,” she said. “They took us immediately back, which was great.”

That’s about the time the little guy got worried.

“He was freaked out because at that point he realized something was wrong, that he was hurt,” she said.

Team members on duty figured out right away that their young patient was a superhero fan. They didn’t have any Spiderman toys, but they brought in a Captain America toy to save the day, distracting Crew while nurses and a physician examined his head.

“He is obsessed with superheroes, so he was in heaven,” Chelsea said.

But that didn’t last long.

Crew needed staples to the back of his head to close the gash, so the medical staff prepared to wrap a gauze bandage around his head to hold in some numbing cream.

“He freaked out about that,” his mom said. “He didn’t want anybody touching him. They’re all gowned up and wearing masks, so it’s not like he can see smiling faces.”

Crew wanted his mom to put on a bandage too, so she wrapped a piece of gauze around her head to calm him while waiting for the doctor to come back into the room to close the wound.

Crew smiles with a thumbs up

When the door opened, she and Crew couldn’t help but smile.

“Five or six nurses came in, all with gauze bandages tied around their forehead,” Chelsea said. “He was so distracted and kind of in awe that he didn’t even really notice the staples going in.”

The whole visit took 40 minutes.

The next morning, Crew asked his mom if they could go back to the hospital just so he could get another toy. They didn’t go that day, but they did return 10 days later to get the staples out, and the IU Health North team gave him a Hot Wheels toy this time.

Crew’s wound has healed, but he has a nice scar if he ever forgets that trip to the hospital. Meanwhile, he is as busy as ever, playing golf, baseball and basketball, riding his bike and motorized Jeep and, of course, practicing his Spidey skills.

Riley pediatric emergency medicine physicians and nurses are available seven days a week in the IU Health North Emergency Department. The team is onsite from 2 to 11 p.m. daily (the busiest time for kids coming to the emergency department).

A Riley pediatric hospitalist is also always available to help direct care. Ten pediatric emergency medicine physicians rotate at IU Health North, while also supporting healthcare colleagues in practice at Riley Hospital for Children in Downtown Indianapolis.