Brite Lite Previous Winners
Brite Lites are selected as those who best exemplify “the four Cs” at Hasbro Children’s Hospital: caring, communication, cooperation and competence.
Read their stories below.
Brite Lites 2020 Winners
Read the 2020 Hasbro Children's Hospital Brite Lites' stories, as written by patients and their families.
Lee Polikoff, MD
"We had a very challenging hospital stay before going into the PICU, and once we got into the PICU made an immediate connection with Dr. Polikoff. He listened to our story, and not just listened but understood the challenges we had and reassured us he would do everything he could to turn things around for us.
We seemed to form an instant partnership with Dr. Polikoff. It usually takes time and trust on both sides to form a "Team Approach," but this time even though Dr. Polikoff didn't know us, it felt like he instantly joined forces with us and we became a team. There seemed to be an instant connection, where we combined our knowledge and understanding of our son with his knowledge and expertise. I could feel his concern and compassion, and it brought such a reassurance that we were not alone in the situation and it brought such comfort to know he was watching over our son as well.
Dr. Polikoff worked very hard in communicating and making sure everyone was on the same page. As I mentioned we had a very challenging stay before going into the PICU, and Dr. Polikoff made sure we had the continuity of care. He was constantly communicating us as parents, the nurses, the PICU docs, Neurosurg and Pedi surg.
Dr. Polikoff went above and beyond in making sure Josh got the care he needed and that our concerns as parents were heard and understood. He advocated for what we felt Josh needed, even though it meant he had to step out on a limb. I truly felt like he advocated for our son just as much as he would have if it was his own child in the situation.
There are so many ways Dr. Polikoff showed excellence, but one stands out in particular to me. It was during morning rounds, and Josh's situation had gotten worse overnight. We had all the doctors in the room, but it felt like it was just me and Dr. Polikoff. He made direct eye contact with me and did not look at anyone else around him. It was not the typical "rounds" conversation, he took time to encourage me, and let me know I was not alone. The conversation was almost surreal. He spoke with such compassion and authority it was like his words pierced my heart. At one point in the conversation, one of the other doctors said something jokingly and Dr. Polikoff, without breaking eye contact with me said " I'm serious, this is important you need to understand I Got You, I have Your back.
Even as I type this out a few months later, my eyes are filling up with tears. I don't know if words can express just how much that conversation impacted me. My son has had over 20 different surgeries and countless hospital stays and I can say I have never felt that kind of compassion, and understanding from any other doctor, nurse, or provider. It truly impacted me and is something I will never forget. It may have seemed like just another conversation, but it was so much more."
Abbey Lamb, PT, DPT
"Abbey began working with Gray after his tracheostomy and quickly became his favorite person. She gave an unparalleled level of care to help him quickly catch up on milestones.
Abbey faithfully worked with Gray everyday but also coached my husband and I to continue working with him on our own. She really helped us develop our own confidence.
While working around his trach/vent tubing, she never pushed up to do anything we weren’t comfortable with.
Abbey was truly a joy to work with and learn from. Grayson has excelled so much through her commitment to his global development. She was ever mindful of his medical needs while continuing to push him to do things he had never done before. I cannot overemphasize the impact Abbey had on Grayson during his hospitalization. She made such a huge difference helping him recover mobility after his intubation and surgeries."
Luca Bartolini, MD
"Dr. Bartolini has been following us since Henry (now 9 months) was a newborn, at 5 weeks old and throughout the entire time we have been in his care, he has shown us competence and compassion for the unique situation we are dealing with having a rare, untreatable, totally random neurological disease. Dr. Bartolini first suspected we might have a genetic form of epilepsy when Henry's seizures did not abate after starting anti-epileptic drugs, and he moved quickly to have a genetic test done. We received results 10 days later, when Henry was 9 weeks old. Since Dr. Bartolini had been working with us so closely and seen what we were going through week after week with our little baby having unexplained serious seizures with breathing issues, he called himself to deliver the news that the results were positive. That single phone call changed the trajectory of our entire lives and it meant everything to us that the doctor whom we had grown to trust, who had helped us navigate these uncertain and terrifying waters so far was the one who delivered the news. While delivering difficult news is part of a doctor's duty, knowing how to deliver it with compassion, empathy, and leaving room for hope, takes a special skill. We have since met with many doctors regarding our diagnosis and not all have had remotely Dr. Bartolini's level of compassion for the difficult diagnosis our family has to manage. We will never forget Dr. Bartolini telling us on that call that if he were in our shoes, he would want to know as soon as possible which was absolutely correct, or that we have to "wait and see what Henry tells us" with regard to how this diagnosis presents itself, and that we understand so little about this disease, there is no telling what spectrum of phenotypes are possible or where we might land on that spectrum. We have clung to that hope in challenging moments and comforted ourselves with his kind words. It would be our hope that anyone in our shoes would hear such heartbreaking, life-changing news from a doctor in the manner Dr. Bartolini delivered it to us.
Dr. Bartolini has always shown accountability for Henry's care. He has followed through with every need Henry has had every step of the way from following very closely Henry's levels of drugs, leading the many med changes we have had, ordering continued tests to ensure we understand our symptoms as they evolve, and communicating frequently with us and Henry's team of doctors. In a case as complicated and rare as ours, we need a doctor who is as "there for us" as Dr. Bartolini, who follows through with what he says he will do, who stays on top of our symptoms and meds, and communicates with everyone in a timely fashion. We have never felt "lost in the shuffle" despite surely being one of his patients that requires more of his time and energy. For this we are grateful.
Dr. Bartolini has always shown respect for Henry and us as his parents in never treating him like he deserved pity or us like this diagnosis was the end of the world. Others have. He has made us feel empowered by the knowledge we have, rather than depressed by the diagnosis we've been given. He has respected Henry's dignity as a human being, entitled to the highest quality of life possible, and has carefully done his job to ensure Henry is receiving the best care so he can have a good life. He has also shown respect for Henry's condition, admitting early on that he was not an expert in the field of our specific diagnosis, but helping us navigate our epilepsy piece and working with our experts for our diagnosis to manage the rest. This has been crucial in Henry's progress so far, having a doctor who respects our son and diagnosis enough to communicate when he does not know answers and to work with others to find them. There has been no ego involved, Henry has remained the central priority at all times. This is not always the case with other doctors. We have appreciated Dr. Bartolini's respect of his profession and other professionals, of his "respect" of Henry's little beautiful brain and body, and of us as his parents in helping walk us through a path we never saw ourselves going down. He has always viewed Henry as a person, not a person with a limiting medical condition, despite the fact that he has one, and that has made all the difference. He has given us hope that we can find some semblance of a normal life despite this diagnosis if we just keep taking cues from our boy.
Dr. Bartolini has always shown excellence in his care for Henry in holding himself to the highest standard. He has never spoken poorly about any other physician, though we have encountered a few who have not shown us the level of compassion he has, and instead has been reassuring in his care of us and in our decision-making in caring for Henry in difficult moments when we did not have his guidance. Dr. Bartolini has shown excellence in his ability to collaborate with other doctors to manage Henry's care, and in his ability to communicate with us, sometimes near daily regarding a change in symptoms or meds. He has never made us feel like we were navigating this alone, or that we couldn't get hold of him. Perhaps the #1 way Dr. Bartolini has shown excellence is in his brilliance knowing very early on that we were not dealing with a common form of epilepsy. We met him when Henry was 5 weeks old and when he continued to have 1-2 seizures a week until he was 7.5 weeks old, Dr. Bartolini was quick to suspect a genetic cause and order the test. Because of this, Henry is the youngest baby ever to be diagnosis with his rare condition at 9 weeks. Because of that, we were able to get connected with the 2 expert doctors in our condition who were able to get us on the right meds that are not typically used to treat epilepsy, and to get the proper early intervention services for Henry. This has made all the difference. For perspective, when we visited the only clinic in the world for our disease last week, the expert doctor there said that Henry is doing better than any other child with his mutation and is essentially defying science in the sense that we would imagine the effects of his disease to be much more severe based on what we know about how debilitating his mutation can be. Usually, children are incorrectly diagnosis with just intractable epilepsy and the process of getting a correct diagnosis can take years. That is lost time for a child's brain in being subjected to episodes that could be partially prevented by other, non anti-epileptic drugs. Dr. Bartolini saved us time and gave us the most time early on to treat what we can for our baby. We believe this has forever changed Henry's life for the better and we will never be able to thank Dr. Bartolini, or his experience and doctor instincts enough for getting that test early on for us. It, and he, has made all the difference.
Whatever praise can be given to a doctor at your hospital, should be given to Dr. Bartolini. We've been to 6 hospitals, worked with countless physicians and all echo our sentiments above about his knowledge, expertise, and compassionate care of Henry. While this is his job, it is our life, and he could easily do his job without doing it as well as he does. It is not an exaggeration to say, because of Dr. Bartolini, our child's life was put on a better path. Our wish for any other parent or child in our family's shoes would be that they have their own Dr. Bartolini to guide them every step of the way. We are so grateful in a small state to have a world class doctor like him. We remain forever grateful."
Robert Bissitt, RN
"Bob saw our daughter and validated her struggle and strength. He recognized the challenges of caring for a 17-year-old female and did absolutely everything to help maintain her dignity and need for privacy. & He was kind towards her and advocated for her in both her physical and spiritual needs (he communicated well with her medical teams and with the child life care team and chaplain services).
Bob communicated extremely well with the team who took over her care at shift change. She never felt like she was working with a different group of strangers, as he had handed her over with kindness, accuracy, and personal care to the next team. It felt like she was only cared for by one cohesive group, not different nurses each with a limited understanding of her.
Being a male nurse, caring for a teenage female, he made sure that all her personal care needs were met by the appropriate staff (e.g., a foley removed by his teammate, Deb). He validated her efforts to push beyond pain and asked her thoughts on medications (not just the thoughts of her mom, who happens to be a doctor, or her father).
Excellence comes in so many ways. Bob works as a person who loves his job, not just doing a job that pays the bills. Naomi felt that she was the most important person in the room when he took care of her, which is about as excellent as it gets in customer service. He communicated with each member of her physician team effectively, efficiently, and persistently if needed.
Bob Bissitt will remain the Stewart Family's face of Hasbro Children's Hospital. We will look back at our time spent in a children's hospital, 2000 miles from home, in the middle of a pandemic with warmth and fondness. A time that had all the reason to be terrifying and painful will be remembered as comforting, comical, kind and safe directly because of the care he provided our daughter. I can speak as a physician and say that he is an asset to any medical community. Competent nurses are always an asset, but competence paired with kindness and advocacy make healthcare spectacular. Any doctor should be so blessed to work with a nurse like Bob. As a mom, he was a gift and answer to prayer for my daughter (who has had the need for quite a few medical encounters, not all of which have been even close to good). Having Bob as a nurse was an enthusiastic, fun, and kind reminder that excellent healthcare providers can make the difficulties of life with medical complications so much easier. He is definitely a BRITE LITE!"
Wael Asaad, MD
"Dr. Asaad is one of the most gifted surgeons I’ve ever met. He operated on my daughter’s brain multiple times and was always there for us following surgery. He also visited Grace daily supporting her when times were difficult. He treated our daughter as if she was his own. He has such a kind patience that keeps your mind at ease, talking to my daughter with care and involving her with the surgical decisions made.
Dr. Asaad has such an amazing presence. He cared for and supported Grace with options and not ultimatums on surgical procedures.
Dr. Asaad is an excellent neurosurgeon. He kept us informed and always encouraged our questions and feedback. He is truly a gifted doctor who not only cares about the patient’s brain but their whole wellbeing. While Grace was in the PICU for three weeks he would visit and make sure she was coping OK. He would encourage her by telling her how strong she was and that she was tougher than most adults. Dr. Asaad has changed my daughter’s life, giving her options that she hadn’t had before."
Brite Lites 2019 Winners
Read the 2019 Hasbro Children's Hospital Brite Lites' stories, as written by patients and their families.
Cynthia Donnelly, RN
"Cindy stands out even among an entire staff of amazing nurses & doctors. Our Sammi was extremely close to death. Cindy has an incredible gift of comforting the patients & parents in a situation like this. She always did more than her job as Sam’s nurse. I truly believe that Cindy’s diligence made a difference in saving her life. She initiated a change in vent settings that marked a turning point for Sam towards recovery. Also, Cindy always took the time to wash and style Sammi’s hair, make her smile (once she woke up). There are so many examples of her kindness, and instinct medically that I could mention. She is a “light” in the true sense of the word. Her kindness and compassion leaves a lasting impression."
Sarah Ferszt, LICSW
"We met Sarah when Aidan was diagnosed with Crohn’s/Colitis in early 2016. Since meeting Sarah, she has always been a great listener, empathetic to our situation, and an amazing support system for our family. We have attended her support groups which have always been informative and made us feel like part of a family. Sarah has always listened to our needs and has expressed our opinions and concerns to the team. My son was admitted to the hospital of February 15, 2019 and we realized he needed surgery to alleviate his symptoms from his colitis, Sarah was an integral part of his care. She was able to answer questions, but more importantly she was there for us on an emotional level. Sarah was concerned during my son’s surgery and called, for an update, when it took longer than expected, to check on us. Sarah also came to the recovery room to make sure we were okay. She checked on us regularly during his recovery but what meant the most was when we had an issue with our discharge, Sarah who was supposed to leave, took the time to stay, call the team and advocate for my son. She is amazingly empathetic and great listener. Sarah should be awarded the Brite Lite because she is truly dedicated to the well-being of children and their families. Thank you."
James Ziegler, MD
"Dr. Ziegler has the best bedside manner we have even seen in a doctor. He has always treated our entire family with utmost compassion and care. When he first had to tell us the news about our daughter’s heart condition, he was generally concerned for us taking the news and he sat with us as long as we needed him to, answering our questions.
Dr. Ziegler and his office staff have always been great about calling us back when we had concerns about any issues, and he has always been great about teaching us the ins and outs of her condition and what to expect along the way through this whole 8 year heart journey.
Dr. Ziegler has always respected our entire family starting with Trinity, and also us her parents, our other children and my mother who has also attended visits with us.
Dr. Ziegler brings a layer of excellence far above the rest. Usually the higher up the medical specialist, the more unattached they become to be able to help you through the situation, but Dr. Ziegler should teach all the other doctors about treating the whole patient and being attentive to their family. Dr. Ziegler has always been there to take the time to answer any questions, teach us any of the processes we need to learn and ease our fears about procedures and the like.
I could go on and on about Dr. Ziegler’s level of care for our daughter, Trinity, in the last 8 years since he first saw her but I can honestly say that all other doctors should shadow him for a day to see how great he is as a medical professional and a person and what people actually need in a doctor when receiving devastating news!!!. We absolutely love Dr. Ziegler and we are blessed to have him in our lives!"
"He goes above and beyond every time we are here.
Brandon has a lot of medical needs so we have a van with a ramp that goes down.
He always recognizes my car and finds a spot (parking can be very stressful with a medically fragile kid).
Last month we were discharged, and my car was in the Dudley garage and he went and got it for me!
He is always smiling, moving and working hard. He takes the stress out of our arrivals!"
Deborah Nordahl, BSN, RN, CPHON
"Deb is your true definition of compassion. At times when my daughter was scared, she was there to give her reassurance and a hug!
Deb was always on time, never made us wait. Always educating us and teaching us while doing what she had to do.
Deb always asked before doing anything. She respected my daughter, treated her with the most respect. Very comforting at times, kind and caring.
Deb is EXCELLENT at what she does as a nurse. There is a certain type of person that can be a nurse never mind a pediatric nurse.
She is the most kind, caring and compassionate nurse. She always spent time with us and my daughter. Always checked in not only to check on my daughter but us as parents. I’m happy with our stay at Hasbro and glad to have Deb as our nurse. She is truly the Brite Lite!"
Nemo, a K-9 Comfort Program Canine
Honorary 2019 Brite Lite
"Nemo showed he cared and wanted to help. He was there for me when I was stressed. Nemo let me pet him and would jump up on my bed to comfort me.
Nemo was a great dogtor. He was the best at his job. He was a very, very comforting dog to be around.
Nemo was well trained and listened well. He didn’t jump on me, attack me with kisses, or destroy my stuff.
Nemo was an excellent dogtor. He had great skills, like peek-a-boo. He is very smart and kind.
I missed my dog and animals are one of the only ways I can cope with stress and anxiety. Nemo helped me get through my stay here. He was very loving and adorable. I’m glad I was able to see him throughout my stay."
Brite Lites 2018 Winners
Read the 2018 Hasbro Children's Hospital Brite Lites' stories, as written by patients and their families.
Kimberly DeCastro, RN
"My son Brayden has to undergo Remicade treatments every eight weeks.
Kim has a great spirit, sense of humor and just overall ability to make things at ease to make these treatments as enjoyable and pleasant as they can be.
She has a great attitude and makes it seem much more like hanging out at a friend's for the afternoon, than being in a hospital getting a treatment.
She does a tremendous job."
Mohammed Faizan, MD
(translated from Spanish)
"I want to nominate Dr. Faizan for being an exemplary human being.
He shows my children a lot of love.
My daughter adores him. She says, 'he is my doctor' when she talks about him.
I feel a sense of tranquility knowing she feels well.
I can’t find the right words to describe what Dr. Faizan means to us in our lives and the support he has given us. He is an excellent doctor. I will be grateful all my life for everything he has done for my daughter. Thank you, Dr. Faizan."
Odessa Holt, MSW
"From entering the ICU until well after discharge, Odessa was our rock, our guidance, our strength and led us from day to day.
She went above and beyond for our daughter and supporting us and our family.
She offered support and guidance to help us through a most difficult few days.
Odessa knew what we needed, when and how to support us. We are so grateful to have worked with Odessa during this time."
Kristen Macrae, BSN, RN
"Kristen is a special kind of nurse. She has a tough exterior but is very soft and caring inside. She really cares about me and my son. What stood out to me was that she checked on me, along with my son. Kristen says I was having a hard time being in the hospital for so long. She took it upon herself to get me to go out with my husband to get away for a bit. Kristen respected me as a mother not only to my son but also my daughter. She was an advocate for me to allow my daughter to stay with me. The care and attention to detail Kristen had was exceptional. She took the time to understand all aspects of the situation and executed all her duties flawlessly. I am so grateful I had Kristen as my nurse. She really was a game changer in helping me get through my time there. She even took the time to rearrange my room and get a bed and toys for me and my daughter. Her doing that had a major impact on my mental stability which at that time was fracturing. She knew I needed that so I could keep it together for my family! I love all the nurses we had and really couldn’t have done this without them!"
Jennifer Pace, BSN, RN
"AKA, “Jen McStuffins,” per Landon who loves the TV show Doc McStuffins. Jen Pace is an extraordinary nurse! Her family centered approach made us feel supported, heard and respected. She was able to interact well with my son in a way I noticed he trusted her with his “boo-boos.” Jen displayed a level of professionalism and knowledge that should be admired and recognized. I was able to witness her work well with other family and most importantly modeled team work and positivity with other staff on this unit. We had the pleasure of having her as our nurse twice during our stay and we couldn’t have been happier to see her. Jen thoroughly explained the day's plan, goals and medication schedule which as a parent made life easier. She is an asset to this hospital. Thank you for a great experience during a difficult time."
Brite Lites 2017 Winners
Read the 2017 Hasbro Children's Hospital Brite Lites' stories, as written by patients and their families.
Katie Greco, BSN, RN, CPN
"You were not even a member of his immediate care team and you were so detailed and made sure nothing was overlooked. On top of that I felt like you listened to my concerns while rotating. But most important out of all the people in the room you stayed behind to talk and explain and comfort me when I was having a tough moment. It was not overlooked and extremely appreciated. You could have just left with everyone else. You saw I was upset and came to comfort. It takes a special wonderful person to care and console others. Especially when Logan isn’t one of your patients. Thank you so much!"
Carissa Hill Devlin, PA
"Carissa showed she was caring when I returned to the ER after being in the CDU and she came and visited me to see how I was doing. She also showed that she was caring when she tried to let me do a clean catch instead of a straight cath because I was very scared to have a catheter. She showed cooperation when she helped me with being able to visit the bathroom, and helping my mother become comfortable while staying overnight. Carissa was very good at communicating, she would reword a sentence however many times it took until I understood what was going on. She also called another hospital I was at, and my pediatrician to make sure that she had enough information about my case as possible. Carissa showed competence in every task she undertook, she would help me with everything I needed, and she was always up with my pain meds, even in the middle of the night. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that Carissa fulfilled the 4 C’s while caring for me."
Donna Marasigan, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPN
"Throughout the night she did everything from helping us change diapers around tubes and wires, to singing to our son to comfort him, to searching the floor for extra blankets, pillows and swing for baby to make us all more comfortable.
During a time that was very scary, she was a face of knowledge, comfort and professionalism.
We cannot thank her enough for her help and support."
Lorene Booker-Jorge, RN
"Lori was the first nurse we interacted with in PICU. She was also the first nurse that we encountered who took the time to answer all of our questions and make sure we understood what was happening with our child.
She spoke to us in a way that made us feel 'normal' in the midst of a very stressful situation.
She comforted us during difficult treatments and celebrated small improvements. We are so thankful for the kindness that she showed our family!"