“I saw that the tip of the baby’s finger with purple at this point,” Harper said.
She called for the doctor, who asked for Nair, a hair-removal product sold over the counter in pharmacies. The lotion is usually available in the hospital, but this time, there was none. Harper volunteered to rush out and buy some.
It was midnight, and she drove to a nearby Walmart that was closed, then a Walgreens and several gas stations, also all closed. She went to another Walmart and saw that, while it too was closed, workers were inside stocking shelves. Harper banged on the door and called the store. No answer.
Finally, when an employee opened the door to leave, Harper rushed in, explaining the situation to several people. They did not want her in the store, but she ran to get the product anyway. An employee tried to stop her and threatened to call the police. Again, Harper tried to explain the situation.
“If this was your baby, wouldn’t you want a nurse to come and get the Nair so he wouldn’t lose his finger?” she pleaded.
With that, Harper was able to check out, then drove back to the hospital with the Nair. The doctor got the hair untangled from the finger, and the baby went home that night.
“Thanks to Sarah’s quick thinking and ingenuity to solve the problem at hand, the baby will grow up with a full set of fingers and do wonderful things,” said Mae Banaag, Harper’s charge nurse, who nominated her for an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Celebrating Nurses Award.
Harper said she never thought twice about helping her patient this way. “We do that all the time, all of us,” she said. “The only thing with this one is I almost got arrested in the process. Now, that’s never happened before.”
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Read more about the nurses honored at this year’s ceremony:
Shannan Browning, Piedmont Healthcare
Lauren DePietro, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital
Rose Horton, Emory Healthcare
Damar Lewis, Northside Hospital Duluth
Gina Papa, Clarkston Community Health Center
Deepa Patel, Wellstar Shared Services
Andrew Perea, Kaiser Permanente
Cherish Ramirez, Piedmont Healthcare
Julie Singleton, Northeast Georgia Health System
Denise Ray, Piedmont Healthcare: Nurse Leader Award
Current job: Emergency room nurse at Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell
Years of experience: 7
Educational background in nursing: Associate’s degree in nursing, West Georgia Technical College. She always wanted to be a nurse and went back to school to finish her degree after being a stay-at-home mom.
Family info: Grew up in Paulding County, where she still lives with her three children. “I love helping people. I love interacting with my community. This is my community I’m helping. I take pride in that,” she said.