Your support makes it possible for the CC@S team to respond to a family of conjoined twins at Packard Children’s Hospital
The call comes from a family member. Or it comes through one of the medical team.
This particular time, the call comes from a nurse at Packard’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. There are conjoined twins in the PICU, born several months earlier. The family lives outside the Bay Area and although the mother is staying nearby in the Ronald McDonald House, the rest of the family is back home for work. Friends, church and other support systems are far away.
You can imagine how stressful it is for the family. The girls’ prospects for the future are terribly uncertain. The family is forced to live apart. Years of complicated medical procedures and challenges lie ahead. They want the comfort of their faith for themselves and for their girls.
When we get calls like this, the priests and chaplains at CC@S readily lend a compassionate listening ear, pray over the family and ill family member, and if asked, offer the sacraments, in this case baptism.
Chaplain Teresa emailed back and forth with the twins’ mother, reassuring her that it could happen at Packard Children’s Hospital and that the day would be as joyous as if it were in a church. For a family where everything felt irregular, she would make sure it was as much like a baptism at church as possible.
On the day of the baptism, Teresa and Fr. Daniel were happy to see little red wagons waiting outside the entry of the hospital. They loaded one up with the large baptismal bowl, the baptismal candles, towels, and the Chrism oil. They were directed to a warm, inner courtyard with a fountain. Hospital staff had helpfully set up a table for the occasion. The girls were just finishing being dressed in a beautiful baptism gown modified especially for them. About twenty of their extended family had traveled down to celebrate the girls’ special day. Of the day, Teresa says,
“It really reflects how life is intertwined, both the joyous and the sad. The day was one demonstrating the sacrament at its fullest: when there’s fragility and innocence, joy and uncertainty. The girls looked beautiful. They looked radiant! It was a day we will never forget.”
The twins were finally released to go home after having spent the first four months of their lives in the hospital. The family hopes that they will be separated in the future. When they do, we hope to see them again at Stanford.
Certainly the patients at both hospitals on campus receive top‐notch medical care. Through your generosity and support, these members of our “Temporary Community” also receive excellent spiritual care as well.