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October 11, 2018

A neurosurgeon 'saved' a wounded teddy bear. (Yes, there are photos.)

Daily Briefing

    Editor's note: This popular story from the Daily Briefing's archives was republished on Feb. 11, 2019.

    In fall 2018, a pediatric neurosurgeon at IWK Heath Centre in Canada, received an unusual request: Treat a stuffed bear belonging to an eight-year-old patient—and he couldn't say no, Allison Klein reports for the Washington Post's "Inspired Life."

    'How could I say no?'

    Jackson, is an eight-year-old patient who has a cyst on his brain and a condition called hydrocephalus, Klein reports. Before Jackson went into surgery to drain fluid and relieve pressure on his brain, he had a request for his doctor, Daniel McNeely. Jackson asked McNeely if he could stitch up a tear in Little Baby, Jackson's teddy bear.

    McNeely assured Jackson he'd take care of it, and after the boy's surgery, McNeely placed the bear on a table, put on surgical gloves, and used stitches to repair the bear. "There's always a few stitches that are left over from the case itself and they normally get disposed of," McNeely said.

    McNeely tweeted about the experience, and the photos quickly went viral, amassing over 18,000 retweets and 41,000 likes. "It's not what I was looking for," McNeely said. "I just thought I might make some people smile somewhere."

    Jackson's brother, Dustin, replied to McNeely's tweet to thank him.

    Jackson's father, Rick McKie, called McNeely "one of the nicest human beings I've ever met." McKie said, "When we get [to the hospital] we're terrified to death, but every time we talk to Dr. McNeely we feel better." He added that Jackson was thrilled when he saw his bear was fixed after he woke up, and said he takes the bear everywhere he goes.

    A number of commenters responded to McNeely's tweet, including some who recounted times their doctors did something similar for them:

    (Klein, "Inspired Life," Washington Post, 10/4).

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