Sharing Mayo Clinic: Volunteer’s gift provides warming comfort for young boy after head injury


When a head injury landed young Andrew Holmquist in the Emergency Department, a blanket made by a hospital volunteer provided comfort through exams, scans, a ride in an air ambulance, and throughout his recovery.

A blanket is just a piece of cloth stitched together, but it can be so much more. Especially when it’s given to someone during an emergency, and provides warmth and comfort to get through a difficult time.

Andrew Holmquist, 3, and his family, have firsthand experience in this.

“He’s all boy and busy. Just go, go, go,” says Andrew’s grandmother, Judi Holmquist. “He likes ‘Paw Patrol,’ dinosaurs, trucks and helping papa (grandpa) outside.”

Andrew, who lives with his grandparents, was doing just that after a snowfall in January.

“He really wanted to go out, so we put him in his snowsuit and his mom, Abby (Holmquist), got him strapped into the skid-steer with papa,” says Judi.

After they were done plowing the driveway, Andrew’s grandpa, Paul Holmquist, lifted him out of the skid-steer cab and set him on the ground. In an instant, Andrew slipped on ice and hit his head on the machine’s metal bucket.

Paul scooped up the boy and brought him into the house to be cleaned up and comforted by Judi and Abby.

‘I knew something wasn’t right’

“His nose was bleeding pretty badly, and then he said, ‘I’m sleepy,'” Judi says. “I’m a former paramedic, so when he said that, I looked at his pupils, and I knew something wasn’t right.”

Quickly, the family decided to drive him to the hospital. On the way, Judi called 911 while Abby tried to keep Andrew calm and awake in the back seat. About 15 minutes into the drive, he briefly lost consciousness. The Holmquists were met en route by an ambulance, and Andrew was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

When Andrew arrived, he was evaluated by Brent Bjorklund, M.D., an emergency medicine physician.

“Andrew had dried blood in his nose and was initially vomiting blood, as well ― likely from swallowing it,” says Dr. Bjorklund. “He was awake and talking to us on arrival. Then we performed a trauma evaluation.”

During Andrew’s exam and tests, the staff picked out a special blanket covered with trucks just for Andrew.

Read the rest of Andrew’s story on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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