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Pink flamingos draws inspiration for Medical Center patients

Ronald Delos Santos




A lightning-caused a wildfire that menaced nearby citizens, homes and a hospital on Sunday, August 6, was no match for a horde of seven pink flamingos.

The lawn ornaments, on the hillside just behind the Northern Nevada Medical Center, have become a symbol of hope for the patients and staffs of the hospital and were threatened when a fire on Sunday scorched thousands of acres.

The pink flamingos still stand. It was pretty good news for Lita McCaw, the director for case management for inpatient rehabilitation at the Northern Nevada Medical Center.

McCaw said that the group of seven pink flamingos has become a source of inspiration for families since they appeared two years ago.

It was fall back in 2015 when two daughters of a patient in his 70s put the flamingos out on the hillside.

The man had been suffering from stroke and was depressed, McCaw said.

“His two amazing daughters bought all these flamingos and put them out so their father could see them from his hospital window,” McCaw added.

McCaw further said that they would move the flamingos around on the hillside, and it became a ritual for the man, staying on the sixth floor, to find them everyday. Soon other Northern Nevada Medical Center employees and patients eagerly started looking for and talking about the flock of flamingos.

“It’s a huge part of the hospital now,” said McCaw. She added that the flamingos become a way to start a discussion with patient, many who are sadden after suffering a medical emergency.

The man ended up making an amazing recovery and left weeks after suffering from stroke, but the flamingos stayed behind to inspire the other patients in the Northern Nevada Medical Center.

It’s what Lisa Boote of Sparks City did for after her own stay at the hospital for an appendectomy. “I remember looking outside and seeing these pink flamingos and it just made me happy,” Boote said.

When Boote got out of the hospital, she and her husband bought costumes for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day and dressed them up.

“I have to tell you I wanted to see with my own eyes,” McCaw said of seeing that the flamingos survived from Sunday’s fire.

“I truly can’t understand how they survived when fire was all the way around them,” McCaw said.

McCaw said that the staff from Northern Nevada Medical Center talked about dressing the flamingos up as firemen. “The firemen truly saved the hospital,” McCaw said. “They truly saved something that has become a symbol of hope.”