Hospital volunteer returns the favor
Updated: November 19, 2012 6:42PM
Betsy Epton reached over a crib in the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, her right hand offering hope.
Joel Farias, 4 months old, was asleep, unaware of Epton’s gentle touch.
Joel faces medical challenges, but doctors, professionals and volunteers like Epton, a 15-year Northbrook resident, will help this Lake County family.
“Oh, they’ve been wonderful,” said Joel’s mother Celeste Farias, about hospital support.
Epton’s daughter Corey, now 22, was a patient here under the care of Dr. Henry Mangurten, an fellow Northbrook resident. Epton and her husband Scott almost lost Corey, who today is a vibrant adult with no lasting medical issues from her birth.
“I can’t believe we lived through what we lived through. I see the babies and their parents,” said Epton, looking over her right shoulder where Joel slept steps away. “And I’m grateful that we had this place and I hope that their (other families) stories are as good as mine.
“I’m trying to give back what they gave to me which I will never be able to repay for what they did for our family.”
Mangurten, a Lutheran General neonatologist for 40 years, stood next to Epton.
“As Betsy knows, I often tell people that patients, young individuals like Corey, are the reasons that many of us going into neonatology because we like to see babies get better right in front of our eyes, but also to have the pleasure of seeing how things develop 20, 30 years later,” he said.
Epton met Mangurten in the delivery room.
“He bent down and said, ‘I am going to take care of you,’ and he’s never stopped taking care of us.”
“Well, I was a part of a big team,” he said.
Hugs come naturally for Corey.
“No words for it, it’s just an amazing feeling to have one of our ex-tiny, little patients grow up to be a young adult, and to feel embraced by her (Corey) all these years later, it’s a terrific feeling, ” he said.
“He’s her Uncle Henry,” Epton said.