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Broadway dreams come true for patient, thanks to Duke physician

Friday, January 10, 2020
By Mary Kate Llamas
Shant Keskinyan

Shant Keskinyan, MD, a pediatric resident physician at Duke University Hospital, went out of his way to make a dream come true for one of his patients.

Keskinyan noticed his patient decorated her hospital room with items from various musicals and movies and had a pin at her bedside for the musical Dear Evan Hansen. He learned it was her favorite musical featuring her favorite actor, Will Roland, who played Jared Kleinman in the original Broadway run.

As fate would have it, Keskinyan went to high school with Roland. He couldn't pass up the chance to surprise his patient with a personal connection to the actor. After several texts and emails to various relatives and acquaintances, Keskinyan connected with Roland, who was busy acting in New York. Since he could not meet her in person, he was happy to record a personal video message for his fan at Duke Children's.

The video was a dream come true for Keskinyan's patient. 

“It was so rewarding to see her so excited and know I helped make that happen," Keskinyan said.

“She lit up in a way that was incredibly memorable," said Anne-Thomas Steele, BSN, RN, CNII, CPN, a clinical nurse with Children's Services at Duke University Hospital. “Her genuine happiness and joy made it a special day for everyone."

If you ask Keskinyan, he'll tell you that what he did wasn't a big deal.

“All I did was contact a few people," he said. “It seemed simple to me that if I could possibly make this happen, I had to try. She deserved this."

“Whether its sparking conversation about friends or school, an essential piece of caring for our patients lies in the ability we have to help them feel cared for as a person in addition to as a patient," Steele said. “Truly high-quality care involves treating the patient beyond just their medical condition. I'm proud to be a part of a team that focuses on this every day."

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This article originally appeared on Inside Duke Health.