September 4, 2020

American Family Children's Hospital nurse saves little girl's life twice

Madison, Wis. — In the fall of 2019, then-8-year-old Claire Olson of DeForest was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Her oncologist enrolled her in an extensive clinical trial that includes five rounds of chemo, surgery to remove tumors, two stem cells transplants, 12 rounds of radiation and immunotherapy.

In the spring, the hospital looked a little different with COVID-19 protocols in place but her care continued. Claire did well through the chemotherapy and first stem cell transplant. But after the second transplant in May, her blood pressure dropped, and her heart rate rapidly accelerated. She had two cardiac episodes at the American Family Children's Hospital pediatric intensive care unit.

UW Health nurse Jodi White helped perform CPR and stayed with the family for more than 18 hours during the two cardiac arrests.

Claire's parents Ted and Tiffany Olson are grateful for Jodi and the entire care team that saved Claire's life twice that day. Ted called them "heroes who save the lives of precious little children."

Claire was in the hospital for another three weeks recovering, but never had another major heart issue.

Last week, the Olsons reunited with nurse Jodi White to thank her for saving their child's life.

Claire, now nine, is set to start the fourth grade. She did well with her radiation treatments and will likely begin the last leg of her journey this fall, when she begins immunotherapy medicine.