Trinity Health dermatologist Mary Logue, MD, will never forget the bright young girl who came to her office in July.
Eight-year-old Addison “Addi” Schmitt of Burlington had been doing what countless North Dakota youth do around the Independence Day holiday – lighting fireworks. Amusement turned to tragedy, however, when one of the fireworks exploded in her face, leaving Addi with a severe blast injury.
Her parents, Brady and April Schmitt, rushed their daughter to the nearest emergency room which, at the time, was Tioga Medical Center. Addi received stitches, but knowing she would need specialty care, the provider referred her to Trinity Health and Dr. Logue.
“I was born and raised in rural central Illinois, so I know what it feels like to lack access to specialists,” Logue said. “It was a no-brainer to kick myself into gear to accommodate Addison in any capacity that I could.”
A mom, a former teacher, and a board-certified dermatologist, Logue has a passion for pediatric dermatology. After earning her medical doctorate from the University of New Mexico, she completed her intern year in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. She returned to UNM to complete her dermatology residency.
April Schmitt says Logue called them and got Addi in right away. “She immediately started doing what she felt was best for Addi. It was after hours, but Dr. Logue and her nursing staff stayed and were very helpful.”
“My staff is incredible,” Logue said proudly. “They know that I prioritize urgent cases involving kids. As soon as they got the fax, they communicated it right away, and we got her scheduled the same day. My staff was willing to stay late and come in early to support Addi’s medical care.”
At that time, Logue optimized repair of Addi’s stitches and then arranged to get her scheduled in Trinity’s Emergency/Trauma Center early the next morning for debridement. The ER providers and staff were quick to mobilize and accommodate the dermatology team despite the unexpected and unique nature of her medical needs. Emergency physician Scott Knutson, MD, oversaw Addi’s sedation for debridement, which is a process of removing foreign objects such as debris or shrapnel from the skin to improve healing and long-term outcomes. This procedure is time-sensitive and critical for effective wound management to minimize scarring and what are called “traumatic tattoos” which become much more difficult to remove after 72 hours. “When you live in a rural community, it is difficult to get access to specialists within that critical time, so I knew I had to do everything possible right now to improve her long-term outcomes.
“I performed skin care while Dr. Knutson managed the medicine that put her into a light sleep,” Logue explained. “I basically performed a form of dermabrasion on Addi’s face to improve scarring and minimize traumatic tattoos so she could have the best possible long-term results. This is what I love about rural healthcare. You get to work with salt-of-the-earth people who really know how to rally together and make things work in a moment’s notice.”
Having trained at large academic hospitals, Logue was able to consult with her colleagues, and she put the Schmitts in contact with a pediatric plastic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Addi’s upcoming appointment will be the next step in her restorative process. “I’ve made myself available to be on speaker phone during their appointment at Mayo so they don’t have to feel like they’re navigating on their own,” Logue noted.
Despite her family’s misfortune, April has nothing but praise for the entire medical team who took care of Addi, especially Dr. Logue. “She was very responsive and helped Addi feel very comfortable,” April said. “She even gave me her personal phone number, and whenever I messaged her, she answered all my questions.”
Addi, meanwhile, is eager to return to a normal life, which includes playing basketball and volleyball.
“Addison is so brave, sweet and sassy in the best way possible! It was a pleasure to take care of her. I think her long-term outcome is going to be great,” Logue said. “I’m a mother as much as I am a doctor. I would hope that what was done for Addi would be done for my little boy.”