Peterson said, "I've been thinking about Nadine a lot."
They met in an exam room in David City, Neb. Danaher, 88, went to the clinic to check on a cough. Peterson, a UNMC physician assistant (PA) student on rotation at Witter Family Medicine, conducted the exam.
She was extra thorough, a student excited to work with real patients, and to do an exam just as she was taught. Then, she found a lesion on Danaher's tongue.
"We saw that mass," Peterson said. "We didn't know what it was. We knew we needed to send her on."
She called in her preceptor, and they got the ball rolling.
No one had noticed anything on a recent dental visit. No one had seen anything on any other trips to the clinic.
But Peterson, the intrepid PA student, made a crucial catch.
Nadine's son, Dan Danaher, is a longtime physician assistant himself. He was there, taking his mom to the doctor.
"I was pretty impressed," he said of Peterson. "She just nailed it."
As weeks went by, Peterson said she kept wondering about Danaher's fate.
It turned out to be a very rare clear cell carcinoma of the salivary gland.
"As a student, you often don't get to follow up long term with previous patients, and I find myself wondering how certain people I've seen along the way are doing," Peterson said.
But then, Dan Danaher called to express his appreciation. Nadine Danaher was treated with robotic surgery, excising the tumor. Cancer margins were clear.
"Dan's mom had a great outcome," said Michael Huckabee, Ph.D., director of the physician assistant program, proud of the role his student had played.
Peterson is in the inaugural class of PA students joining the College of Allied Health Professions' PA program in Kearney, at the Health Science Education Complex at UNK. "I'm very grateful for the program," she said. She graduates in December.
"She's part of the family," Nadine Danaher said.
Dan Danaher is one of UNMC's distinguished PA alums. He was in UNMC's first PA class, 1975, and serves the underserved as a PA with the Nebraska Department of Corrections. And he was a longtime military PA with the Nebraska Army National Guard.
"If everyone had a son like him," Nadine Danaher said, "and a daughter like her," she continued, looking at Peterson, "the world would be a better place."
So glad your guardian angel sent Lindsay your way. Dan is a great guy. A wonderful asset to our family.
assume Lindsay Great Job
Great job Lindsay!
Excellent assessment & critical thinking skills. Congratulations!
Thank you for saving my gma. I will be forever grateful.
Way to go, Lindsay!
What a great job - as a preceptor at another clinic site, I can say this does not surprise me. Well done!
Awesome job Lindsay!! This is the beginning of great things ahead!!
This is a wonderful, uplifting story! Way to go, Lindsay! We are SO proud of you!!
Good work! You are going to go far in your career with the compassion and desire to serve that you exhibit. Well done!
Way to go, Lindsay! Not only did you make a great catch, but your true compassion and caring for Mrs. Danaher is evident - and that is what will stir that desire to go the extra mile for your patients. Keep up the great work!
This was so awesome to read, Lindsay!! Go Lindsay!!