Candid Photo Captures a Nurse's Reaction to a Child Waking Up in Pain & Missing His Mom

Annie Hager is seen comforting Slade Thompson, and also standing beside him after his recovery.
UPMC Susquehanna Hospital/Facebook

Undergoing surgery is a scary experience for anyone, let alone a small child. So when 5-year-old Slade Thompson woke up from a hospital procedure earlier this month, it was no surprise when all he wanted was one thing: a comforting hug. Thanks to nurse Annie Hager, he sure got one -- and the moment, which was captured in a heartwarming photo by another nurse on staff, is going viral on Facebook.

  • According to WBAL-TV, the touching moment happened at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, after Slade had his tonsils removed.

    After he woke up but before he could see his family, nurses and hospital staff had to check Slade's vitals and make sure he was stable. In those moments, looking around a big, scary hospital room filled with unfamiliar faces, it's no wonder Slade asked for his mama.

    "When I told him mom couldn't be there, he asked if I would snuggle him,” Hager told the TV station.

    And, being the caring nurse that she is, she didn't hesitate for a second.

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  • Hager climbed right into bed and snuggled little Slade as though he were her very own.

    The moment, which was shared on the UPMC Facebook page on May 7, was shared as part of Nurse's Appreciation Wee, and it sure does highlight just how far some nurses go for their patients -- especially their littlest ones. 

    One look at Slade's face, fresh with tears and emotion, and it's immediately clear how Hager's empathy in that moment meant the world to him.

  • "As a nurse, providing care is one thing, but making sure our patients are calm and comfortable matters just as much," the Facebook post reads.

    "t’s nurses like Annie – who show true compassion – that keep our patients happy," the post continues. "During Nurses Week, we thank our nurses for taking time to make personal connections with patients. Annie's connection with Slade was so real that he brought her flowers at his follow up appointment."

  • As the post has gone viral, strangers from all over the country are applauding Nurse Annie and thanking her for her service.

    "Annie I'm so proud of the beautiful, compassionate young woman you have become," wrote one user, who appeared to know Nurse Annie. "What a heart you have for nursing!"

    "Hey I don’t know you but I am very proud of you," wrote another. "Thank you for being so caring."

    Some nurses even weighed in too, such as one woman who shared: "This is how I feel about my patients and residents i care for. I'm glad to see more people like me r out there. Awesome job Annie."

    Meanwhile, others who've been cared for by Nurse Annie chimed in to share that this wasn't just a random act of kindness -- Nurse Annie really is that compassionate all the time.

    "My father was in for surgery recently and he was lucky enough to have Annie as his nurse in recovery," the person wrote. "Not surprised to see her going above and beyond for others as she did for him. Thanks so much Annie! You are the best at what you [do]!"

  • Speaking with WBAL-TV, Nurse Annie insisted that any of her colleagues would have done the same, but she was humbled to see the story going viral.

    Little Slade was also sure to show his appreciation -- the 5-year-old showed up to present Nurse Annie with flowers once he was fully recovered.

    Here's to the compassion of nurses, who take their roles to heart, and never hesitate to go the extra mile when we're at our most vulnerable moments.