Hope & Determination
From NICU to nothing can stop him
Renown Children’s Hospital is northern Nevada’s only hospital dedicated to the medical needs of children. Our acclaimed facility includes the region’s only 24-hour children’s emergency room, a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), child-size equipment, child-friendly design touches, and an exceptional team of skilled pediatricians, nurses and staff who are always ready to help children (and their parents) heal.
Sarah and Howard Zink were thrilled to be having a child. After many baby bump photos and much anticipation, it was time for their 17-week ultrasound. Their entire family showed up for the appointment.
“Everybody had said that I was having a boy — everybody,” Sarah says. “They gelled me up, my belly was out, and the doctor looked around the room and said, ‘It’s a boy!’”
The family was packed in the room, excited that some of their gender bets had paid off. Then, the doctor’s tone changed, and he muttered, “Wait a second,” looking closely at the ultrasound image.
“The feeling went from so happy and exciting, to feeling fear that there was something wrong,” Sarah remembers, tears welling in her eyes. “Everything you feel that was so happy just comes crashing down immediately.”
At that moment, Sarah and her husband were told that their son, Howie, had gastroschisis, a congenital condition of the abdominal wall that allowed his intestines to exit through a hole beside his belly button. In other words, Howie would be born with his intestines outside of his body. In the U.S., about 1,800 babies with gastroschisis are born each year.
Pictured (L-R): Howard Zink III, Howard (Howie) Zink IV and Sarah Camona Zink
Following Howie’s birth, the Renown medical team performed a specialized procedure to repair the defect. The family describes the doctor as amazingly reassuring. And ten days after surgery, they got to experience the joy of holding little Howie.
“I can’t thank the Renown medical team enough,” Sarah says now. “They helped me and my family so much. The nursing staff in the NICU are so much more than nurses. They’re counselors, lactation consultants and de-escalators of high-intensity situations.”
Today, as Sarah says, “He’s wild.” Howie has no residual medical problems and is doing all the things a typical little boy does and then some — including riding his bicycle down the backyard ramp he loves.
“His health is the number one thing to me,” says Sarah. “And I have that.” From the moment he was born, Howie had to fight for his life. Thanks to the local, life-saving surgery at Renown’s NICU, now nothing can stop him.
Help kids like Howie
As the community’s only not-for-profit hospital system, philanthropic support and partnerships are vital to Renown’s efforts to provide and expand needed services for the people of northern Nevada. Donor contributions of any size are always welcome and have a significant impact on local families, friends, neighbors and children. Just like Howie.
To donate, visit Renown.org/Support.
And in health
Renown Hospice Care provides a compassionate team of experts to meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of patients and their families who are facing a life-limiting illness. It’s an invaluable level of care and comfort that Renown makes available to anyone in our community, regardless of their age or ability to pay.
Eva Riddick cherishes the life she shared with her husband, Gene, before his Parkinson’s diagnosis. She is grateful to the Renown Hospice and Palliative Care team for the supportive role they played before Gene died and the comfort the team provided as she grieved his loss.
“I knew it was about comfort and not recovery,” says Eva. “I was aware of that.”
Renown Hospice Care Chaplain Bert Snyder was there for the Riddicks throughout their journey. Eva expresses how his disposition calmed them and adds that the chaplain became her husband’s confidant, allowing him to open up and share personal stories about his life.
Eva also emphasizes the value of the continuity of the hospice care team and the level of support she felt with them. “Gene would tell me, ‘I am so glad that I see the same people and I like them all so much.’”
She observed and still appreciates the personal, caring way the Renown team treated Gene throughout the final days of his life.
“There were times that I hurt so bad with Gene. I was breaking, and without hospice, I would have broken,” insists Eva. Her hope now is for a better understanding of hospice care, not only for the patient but for the family as well. “I am forever grateful because hospice saved my life. My life. And I wasn’t the ill one.”
Watch more powerful stories at Renown.org/Hospice.
Pictured (L-R): Rev. Bert Snyder, Renown Hospice Care Chaplain, and Eva Riddick
Renown Regional Medical Center is the only certified Level II Trauma Center between Sacramento, CA, and Salt Lake City, UT. We receive and care for critically-injured patients from as close as our Reno-Tahoe backyard and as far away as Mammoth Lakes, CA, as well as distant areas across northern and central Nevada.
The open road. The growl of the engine. The feeling of freedom.
That’s what Oakland resident Tony Mowatt was enjoying as he drove up Highway 88 toward Reno for the semi-annual Street Vibrations event.
And then he hit a diesel truck.
Tony flew off his motorcycle and was thrown more than 100 yards before skidding onto the side of the road. He was severely injured and in the midst of rural Nevada, just outside Centerville, miles away from a hospital that would treat his injuries.
Tony was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center — the only trauma center equipped to treat his serious injuries — and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Tony’s girlfriend, Tasha Klubock, was notified by a friend of Tony’s that he had been taken to the hospital. She immediately drove from Oakland to Renown. Her first night there was overwhelming and frightening — no one knew if Tony would survive.
The nurses helped Tasha cope with the initial shock. Caring for the patient isn’t their only job. They also care for the family.
“The nurses kept coming in and checking on me,” Tasha remembers. “Angela was so amazing that first night. I really just bonded to her, and I remember when the shift switched, I panicked thinking about who was coming on and wanting to meet the next nurse… but they all came to talk to me — I had updates from everybody. It was just amazing.”
Tony spent 32 days in Renown’s Sierra ICU. He survived a serious head injury with Tasha by his side.
Today, Tony and Tasha stay in touch with the Renown nurses.
“Even though this was literally one of the most hideous, craziest things to go through,” Tasha says, “there was so much hope, and the nurses became such a family to me that I still think of that time fondly because of them.” Tony says now, “I’m alive because they wanted me to be.”
Pictured (L-R): Tony Mowatt and Tasha Klubock
Renown Regional Medical Center:
- Accredited ER – Emergency Trauma Center
- Only Level II Trauma Center between Sacramento and Salt Lake City
- Board-certified ER physicians available 24/7
- Earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation for a three year period for emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention/control, leadership, and medication management.
- The Stroke Center at Renown Regional Medical Center earned the Gold Seal of Approval® by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and was designated as a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Figures as of FY2018