CARNATION, WASH. - A doctor's dream job is kids' play. And the flip side of that career is right here on a farm in Carnation. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the ER.
When kids and their families face the worst, Seattle Children's Dr. Annie Slater is there.
The broken bones and the cuts and bruises. The work of an emergency pediatrician is no day in the country. That would be her other job.
Annie is also the medical director here at Camp Korey.
It's a place where children facing medical challenges can spend a week getting down to the serious task of just being kids.
For Dr. Slater, it's a job every bit as crucial as the ER.
“Oh, it's so rewarding,” said Medical Director Dr. Annie Slater. “I mean, honestly, I sort of call it soul food.”
The emergencies at camp can look a little different.
“Here, it's about how do we get these kids to go up the rock wall? How do we get them to go down the zipline?” said Dr. Slater.
Here, fun is what the doctor orders.
For children facing an illness or disability, life outside camp can be exhausting.
“They have to explain themselves,” said Dr. Slater. “They have to explain the tube. They have to explain the wheelchair. They have to explain the tube in their throat, right? And so, here, everybody has a difference.”
Here, every smile is an act of healing. Every day a group hug.
“And we are extremely excited to be able to provide all of these things for them because it's an experience that they don't get anywhere else,” said Dr. Slater.
The campers aren't the only ones to benefit.
“But we also just gain so much from seeing what these kids can do outside of the hospital,” said Dr. Slater.
That's not to say it's an easy job. Homesickness and the occasional bruised ego can be harder to fix than the broken bones that come into ER.
“That's my home,” said Dr. Slater. “I just feel like I know what to do all the time in the emergency department. At camp, I don't always know what to do.”
But in the end, these kids can't wait to come back next year. And Dr. Annie Slater knows just how they feel.
“Love the ER, but I also love camp, because camp is just really, really, really fun.” Said Dr. Slater. “It just really, really works for me.”
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