The Best Choice


Clinical excellence, emotional support key to toddler’s recovery.

Samantha Tyson didn’t know how much one baby could be loved by anyone other than her until she had Milani.

Born June 1, 2020, at 24 weeks and 2 days, weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, Milani would rarely see the outside of the hospital for years. She suffered from severe pulmonary hypertension, was intubated the first six months of her life, and spent her first birthday in a neonatal intensive care unit.

When Samantha learned that Milani would be a match for admission into the Respiratory Care Center at Rockcastle Regional Hospital in September of 2021, she didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t take long for her to be reassured. 


“Rockcastle was the best choice for my daughter. I recommend any mother who has a child who might need these services,” she said. “My primary care doctor said he had heard great things, and he was right.”

As with all patients who are admitted into the facility, Milani arrived dependent on a mechanical ventilator to breathe. The Rockcastle team went right to work, assessing her condition with an eye toward weaning her from the ventilator.

The process for Milani was long and arduous. Months went by as the team worked with her to help her gain enough strength to try going a short period of time without the ventilator.

“I remember that day well,” Samantha said. Over the next few weeks, Milani went from being able to breathe on her own 15 minutes at a time to 30, then more.

In the meantime, Milani the infant transformed into Milani the little girl.

“Rockcastle is where her personality came out,” Samantha said. “There she learned how to sit up, crawl, move around. There was more smiling and giggles.”

On May 22, 2023, Samantha took a healthy Milani home, and months later she still couldn’t stop talking about how Milani was treated at Rockcastle.

“It just shocks me how much they love my daughter,” she said. “They just go above and beyond.”

Since Milani was admitted during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, visitation was limited, but Samantha said the staff did everything they could to allow mother and daughter to interact.


“They made sure to have that extra Zoom call for me, and if I missed it, they sent me pictures and videos because they knew I would worry. They’re very special to me for caring for my baby the way they do.

“They even took the time to learn how to do African- American hair,” Samantha said. “They watched Tik Tok videos to learn how to do beads.”

Milani developed a particular bond with Lesley Griffith, a Rockcastle Regional social worker who worked with her during her stay. On Milani’s first day at home, Lesley dropped off supplies at Samantha’s house and reassured the family, and Lesley continues to keep in touch.

“She’s the sweetest,” Samantha said of Lesley. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it through this process without her. The emotional support was amazing.”

“We established a good relationship early on,” Lesley said. “The importance of having that connection is the establishment of trust. These are their babies, and they want to know we are going to be watching out for them.”

Samantha knows. “I trust them 100 percent; they love my baby.