NEWS | July 31, 2013

A visit from a special friend


Yesterday was 4-year-old Jamey Silva’s birthday, but instead of spending it at home with family and friends he was at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, recovering from surgery to correct a congenital heart ailment. Jamey has been a patient in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit since June 18.

View video of Jamey Silva's surprise birthday visit.

That troubled one of his nurses, Courtney Bhardwaj.

“He really enjoys motorcycles,” Bhardwaj said, “and his family was disappointed that he would be here for his birthday. I just decided it would be nice to do something for him, to make him feel special.”  So Bhardwaj arranged to have a member of the UC Davis Police Department visit Jamey — on his motorcycle.

Motorcycle Police Officer Robert Sotelo, who has been a UC Davis police officer for 10 years, met Jamey and his mom, Amanda, and brother and sister in front of the main hospital at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Jamey Silva © UC Regents
Jamey Silva

Sotelo said he really enjoyed visiting Jamey. He gave the youngster a gift bag filled with small toys – a police dog, a badge and a motorcycle.

 “I loved it. It’s great to be able to make kids happy,” Sotelo said. “I think it’s wonderful that he could go outside for a little while and do something fun.”

Jamey was thrilled with all the attention. Amanda Silva, who has been staying at the Kiwanis Family House, said she was grateful that the children’s hospital went out of its way to observe her son’s special day.

Of course, Jamey also has received several other very important gifts from UC Davis — surgeries to save his life performed by the Pediatric Heart Center.

Shortly after birth, a team lead by Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery Gary Raff performed a complex procedure, the Norwood, to correct Jamey’s heart condition, called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Jamey would go on to have a second corrective procedure, called a Glenn, in January 2012. With the recently completed procedure, called the Fontan, Jamey is on the way to leading a more full and active life.