Beau Arch is only 5 years old. His trusted friend, Eric Pezant, is quite a bit older, having graduated from the LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing in 2009 with a Master of Nursing degree in Nurse Anesthesia. Their friendship has been forged within the walls of Children’s Hospital New Orleans, where Beau has undergone more than 40 surgeries.
Beau has Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS), a rare vascular disorder with symptoms that include a facial port-wine birthmark, abnormal blood vessels in the brain, and eye abnormalities such as glaucoma.
Beau’s mother, Witney Arch, says Pezant, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at Children’s Hospital, has always taken an interest in Beau’s medical concerns, and she is greatly comforted when he accompanies her son to the operating room (OR). She notes a recent experience, in April 2021, when Beau was set to undergo his 38th laser surgery.
“Eric wasn’t even scheduled to be in the OR with Beau, but they switched things around and he got to be with him,” Arch says. “I wasn’t concerned at all because I knew he was in good hands. Eric and his sweet wife have three boys, so he’s good with Beau and knows how to handle him. He asked Beau if he wanted Eric to carry him to the OR or be wheeled back in the bed.”
Beau responded that he wanted to walk by himself.
“That has never happened! He didn’t have any Versed, a pre-anesthesia med, so he was free to walk,” Arch says. “Eric said he hopped into bed in the OR and put the mask on and went to sleep, easy peasy. Eric said it was one of the easiest cases he’s ever done, and Beau’s sweet dermatologist said that he was so chill and calm and just watched everyone back in the OR until he fell asleep. He wasn’t scared at all.”
In June 2021, at Children’s Hospital for his 39th surgery, Beau easily separated from his parents and walked back to his surgery with Pezant. Arch says he no longer needs any pre-surgery medication to calm his nerves.
“I never worry about him because Eric and the other nurse anesthetist treat Beau like they would their own children,” Arch says. “The OR nurse said when Beau was coming out of anesthesia, he was crying, and Eric picked him up and rocked him back to sleep. We are so grateful. It makes this whole hospital situation much less stressful!”
After his 40th procedure, in July 2021, Pezant told Beau’s family that Beau is the easiest kid he has ever put to sleep for a procedure.
“He can be very stubborn at home, but when he walks back to the OR with Eric, he just looks at all the people and the lights and is just so calm,” Arch says. “This can be quite scary for most kids and adults, but Beau handles it like a champ – with the help of his friend.”