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Ethan Lehman, 10 of Plover, Wisconsin

Ethan is 10 years old and likes watching YouTube, riding his bike and scooter and likes to swim. Recently he’s added playing ukulele to his talents.

One day Ethan was playing in the woods like any other kid his age when a tree branch broke and fell on him. The afternoon adventure suddenly turned into an experience every parent fears. The branch crushed Ethan’s skull and nearly ended his life. He was taken to Marshfield Children’s Hospital where part of his frontal lobe was removed.

Ethan spent four months in the hospital recovering from these life-threatening injuries. Dr. Hema Murali, pediatric neurologist and Drs. Edward Fernandez, Lea Lua and Matthew Oelstrom, pediatric intensivists provided expert care to help Ethan move from critical condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to making progress each day and recovering in the pediatric unit.

Ethan’s parents Kara and Paul stayed by Ethan’s side throughout his hospital stay. They say the team of doctors, nurses and staff who helped care for Ethan feel like family. During this very serious time, they were always honest with Ethan’s parents and found ways to make the family more comfortable. Kara and Paul also received emotional support with weekly meetings with a psychologist to help them process their feelings and cope with their son’s condition.

Kids don’t belong in hospitals, so small things like watching Ethan’s favorite movies on a big screen made the time a little better. Ethan also spent time with furry friends during pet therapy. A music therapy specialist from Child Life and Expressive Therapy introduced Ethan to the ukulele. Making music was fun for Ethan and helped him build dexterity in his fingers and hand.

Ethan spent time playing at the children's hospital inpatient rehabilitation therapy village, which helped him build strength and coordination. Dr. Jill Meilahn, a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, gave him a special tricycle he could ride around the pediatrics floor to help him build his endurance. Ethan was even able to visit the local YMCA to swim and work more muscles. All of this work helped him recover enough to go home.

Ethan will continue follow-ups with Dr. Gary Olsen, a neuropsychologist, to monitor his progress. He also visits his pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Dennis Anderson who is helping with Ethan’s eyes since his optic nerves were damaged during the accident. Ethan is working to improve his speech and will go back to school. Someday he hopes to be a dentist.

Ethan receives his care through Marshfield Children’s - to keep him healthy and playing the ukulele at home with his family where he belongs.

For the love of kids.