NataLie Ann Matos from 5/98/98: News at a Glance
This is Natalie in October of 1995 before she went into the Hospital

Below I have clipped an inspiring article published by Duke University

NEWS Angel

[A picture] [A picture]

Starring Natalie

Natalie Matos' two-year battle with leukemia ended when she passed away last year on Christmas Day-but her ability to inspire courage in other seriously ill children and adults has just begun.

During the four months she spent in pediatric oncology at Duke between last March and June, six-year-old Natalie was one of a group of patients with central lines-long-term catheters surgically inserted into major blood vessels or the heart itself-selected to star in a 13-minute Spanish-language video designed to teach future patients or their parents to care for their central lines at home. An English-language version was also made. Natalie's own central line was the conduit for chemotherapy agents and other medications following her bone marrow transplant at Duke Hospital.

Laura Matos brought her daughter Natalie all the way to Duke from their home in Palm Beach, Fla., because of the Medical Center's cutting-edge reputation in researching and treating cancer. "We wanted to get the best hospital, the best doctors, and I think that we did. There was so much love and support from the people there," she says.

Both videos, accompanied by written materials, feature nurses teaching patients of various ages how to dress their central lines, followed by the patients doing it themselves.

"This is the first broadcast-quality video that Duke Patient Education has done," says Pam Edwards, director of Hospital Educational Services. "Patients can pop it into the VCR and play it over and over until they're comfortable with the process." The video is distributed free to all patients who leave the hospital with central lines still inserted. "It's worth it to improve patient outcomes and patients' level of comfort with central lines," adds Edwards. A study is planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the videos as teaching tools.

"I think it will help other children to see Natalie in the video and know that she's not an actress-she's another sick kid, and she learned how to cope with her central line," Edwards says, adding that the Spanish language video (to be released this summer) will include a dedication to Natalie (the English version was issued prior to her death).

Laura Matos believes the video is a fitting memorial to Natalie. "I think she did something beautiful. She's always going to be there to help another child."

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