Therapy dog helped patients in duck boat tragedy recover

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Calls quickly came into CoxHealth Springfield following the boat disaster on Table Rock Lake. Authorities requested the medical staff be ready for mass casualties. At that time, they didn’t know how many were dead. The next day, Friday, July 20, 2018, emergency responders confirmed 17 people had died and 14 others survived with injuries and trauma.

Medical teams at CoxHealth prepared extra bags of fluid and warm blankets for the patients who would soon be arriving.

“We prepared for the worst,” Director of Nursing, Cox Health-Branson Adene Smith said. “I know our ED staff had a bunch of physicians and physician assistants there.”

One nurse untied her own shoes and placed them on the feet of a patient who lost everything in the water. And from their shoes to paws, Gus the therapy dog has been helping patients with the tragedy.

One child patient has a dog at home and has been worried about it. Gus’ job is to put the child at ease and give them some normalcy. Other patients have taken comfort in the therapy dog.

There are many professional resources available to patients and staff at Cox. Meantime, Smith says Gus can be found spreading joy every Friday.