School nurse saves 13-year-old from brain bleed


A special partnership between the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart and five Catholic schools in Pensacola is the reason Dylan Brochu, 13, is alive today.

Dylan was working on some conditioning exercises during a city football practice one evening when he began having trouble seeing. His pediatrician suspected that he might be a little dehydrated and the problem seemed to resolve itself.

On the following day at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School his vision problems returned and Dylan went to see the school nurse, Nikki McCammon, RN. Nikki, who has 10 years of experience in nursing, is on site one day a week at each of the schools. Fortunately, it was her Tuesday at Dylan’s school when he walked into her office.

“As soon as I took a look at him, I knew something wasn’t right,” said Nikki, who was hired in 2019 to serve as school nurse. “He had not hit his head or fallen down at school, no fever, no headache, but he was seeing double and things were blurry. He was very quiet.”

The school called his mother, Kristina, and she immediately took Dylan to the Pediatric ER at Children’s Hospital. That day, on Sept. 1, a CT revealed a subdural hematoma, a large brain bleed that was putting pressure on an optic nerve. Dr. Christopher Villar performed an hour-long procedure to drain the blood from his brain and Dylan spent four days of recovery in the Pediatric ICU.

“The CT caught it in time before he experienced any cognitive deficits,” said Kristina. “Dr. Villar was amazing. He did a fantastic job hiding Dylan’s surgery in the part in his hair.”

Kristina is appreciative of the great care he received and how “super friendly” all the nurses are, noting Michelle and Grant are two nurses who stood out. “Grant in the PICU -- Dylan could really relate to him; he was always joking around and made him feel more comfortable,” said Kristina.

Dylan’s first day back at school with no restrictions on activity was Oct. 23, but he has made the decision to play basketball and soccer instead of football.

In addition to St. John the Evangelist, Nikki serves students who attend St. Paul Catholic School, Sacred Heart Cathedral School, Little Flower Catholic School, and Catholic High School. Prior to the 2019 school year, these schools did not have a school nurse on site.

“This is a fantastic program,” said Dana Donahoo, principal of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. “It has made a tremendous difference at our school. Her level of knowledge is such an asset, and she finds the resources we need. For example, she arranged for a doctor to do our school physicals. Even when she’s not here, I can always call her.”