Rushing to Comfort: Team Members Acts as Calming Force for Father in Need


When an expectant mother requires an emergency C-section, everyone in a birthing center mobilizes into action. Everyone except for the baby’s father.

“Typically, emergency protocols force the father to stay outside the room,” explains Cynthia Roldan, M.D., chief of pediatrics at Carroll Hospital. “They’re alone and in angst.”

Fortunately, Carroll Hospital’s Family Birthplace has people like Barbara Ellis on its team. During a recent emergency C-section, the environmental services aide stepped in to comfort a father in his time of need.

“As I was preparing for the delivery, I looked over and saw Barb sitting with the father,” Dr. Roldan recalls. “She had put everything aside to talk to him, explaining to him what was happening and asking him questions about his family—basically anything to put his mind at ease. You could see she was a very calm and reassuring presence for him.” 

It was one small glimpse into the collection of compassionate moments that Ellis has accumulated in her 10 years at Carroll Hospital. 

“I really don’t look at patients as patients. I get to know them as people,” Ellis says. “Especially in our Neonatal Couplet Care Suites [which allow moms to room with newborns who are premature or require specialized care], families can be there for weeks. I feel like it’s my job to make families feel at home, and part of that is taking the time to get to know them.

For her actions, Barbara Ellis was honored with the first-ever Dragonfly Award, which was created in 2021 to recognize Carroll Hospital team members who go above and beyond to instill hospitality nto the patient experience.

Photo: Environmental Services Aide Barbara Ellis