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HCA Employees Play Santa

Tom Flanigan

Employees from Capital Regional Medical Center and parent company HCA’s North Florida office were doubling as holiday elves on Wednesday, Dec. 6. They were wrapping presents for dozens of local families.

Capital Regional’s Chief Operating Officer Chase Christenson said HCA’s North Monroe Street office looked a bit like Santa’s workshop.

“Around $10,000 of toys and goods and necessities, so we’ll be packing that up and have 57 children that we’ve already identified who are going to be recipients of those presents on Christmas morning,” he said, indicating a long line of brand new bicycles and several large boxes of merchandise in the large conference room.

One of those recipient families consisted of Keri Whitehead and her son Aiden.

“He is 7 years old. He has 13 diagnoses, so it’s been lots of doctors and therapists and definitely a tight schedule,” Whitehead explained.

But instead of a toy, Aiden is receiving a special electronic device that will let him mom know if he’s experiencing a life-threatening seizure.

“This monitor will monitor my child for me and that fear of losing my child the next morning won’t be there any more.”

It will also allow mother and child to sleep separately for the first time since he was born seven years ago.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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