Brittany's daughter died when she was 17 months old. This is her message for the nurses who cared for her.

Brittany Johnson and her fiancé Javier Davis have endured what no parents ought to. But amid the grief, they have a message they want to share — a thank you to all the nurses who helped their baby girl during her 17 months of life.

On May 20, 2022, they welcomed their daughter into the world, and named her Sloane. 

"My pregnancy had been okay, but then Sloane was born pretty early at 24 weeks. The complications went on from there," Johnson tells Mamamia.

When born, Sloane weighed just under 700 grams. Although her arrival was far earlier than expected, Sloane was immediately adored by her whole family, including her three siblings who are 11, 10 and almost four.

"Everyone loved her, she was such a giggly, happy baby. She was my beautiful girl."

Watch: Parents who have love a child speak about their experiences. Post continues below.

Video via YouTube.

Doctors soon discovered that Sloane was not only premature, but she had also been born with a genetic condition that impacted her health severely. She was in for the fight of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit.


"She just wasn't recovering and wasn't getting better as the months went on. Typically, with premies you like to see growth and development, especially for their lungs. But Sloane's lungs weren't getting better. We ended up getting a CT scan which showed masses on her lungs. It was devastating," says Johnson.

Doctors believed the masses were likely associated with Sloane's genetic condition.

"We had a huge medical team, including pulmonology and cardiology experts. We'd all sit down together once a week in the NICU and discuss what was happening, our options, and how to plan for the future."

Fortunately for Johnson, her and her fiancé's family rallied around them, helping with their three older children while Johnson and Davis tried everything they could to focus on getting Sloane's health better. 

When Sloane was five months, things were starting to look up. 

Doctors said Sloane could have a tracheostomy, which would mean she wouldn't need to be attached to machines in the hospital and could return home to her family. Johnson and Davis made the decision to go ahead with this. A tracheostomy is a procedure to help air and oxygen reach the lungs by creating an opening into the trachea, windpipe, from outside the neck.

Following this, Sloane was in and out of rehab centres and medical appointments. During this time, Sloane bonded with the team of nurses who were taking care of her. 


"We had the same nurses follow her all the way through to her NICU graduation which was so special. They helped us learn lots of things so we could take her of her at home. We wouldn't have been able to do that without the hospital staff," Johnson says. 

For a few months, Sloane was back at home. She celebrated her first birthday out of hospital, a celebration the whole family looks back on very fondly and the family received the positive news that a blood clot near Sloane's heart was shrinking.

 Sadly, things took a run for the worse in October 2023. 


Johnson, Davis and their kids were in the midst of celebrating Halloween. They spent the week together, going on hay rides and to a petting zoo. 

They were on their way to an Apple Butter Festival in their local city, when Sloane lost consciousness, suffering a heart attack in her mother's arms.

Davis managed to revive his daughter, but by the time paramedics arrived, there had been 20 minutes of CPR done. During this time, Sloane's brain had started to deteriorate because of a lack of oxygen.

Sloane was transported in a critical condition to the hospital, and Johnson was given the news that her baby girl wasn't going to make it home.

"We had a lot of time actually, we were more fortunate than some other families. We had days together in the hospital where we were able to say goodbye."

Sloane passed away days later. She was 17 months old. 

Due to a number of medical complications, Sloane was unable to donate her organs but Johnson says her daughter's nurses wanted the family to experience the ceremonial "honour walk" many donors take on their way to the operating room nonethless. 


Six months after Sloane's death, Johnson posted a TikTok using videos of her and Davis carrying Sloane on her "honorary honour walk." In overlaying text, Johnson shared how Sloane's nurses went out of their way for her family.

@____bjohnson I get asked constantly how they do it. I honestly could not tell you. But Sloane was LOVED by them. All throughout her 9 month NICU stay. Even at her funeral. They always showed up for us and loved her so much. Sloane you left an impact on this world sweet girl. To those nurses I will never have enough words to say how thankful I am for you. #tracheostomy #greifjourney #foreversloanexo ♬ Prayer and Meditation - Dr. Kwadwo Bempah

She thanked the nurse who took her daughter on her final wagon ride. The nurse who put Sloane's hair into pigtails before Johnson came into the room to say goodbye. The nurse who administered pain medication to Sloane every 10 minutes to ease Johnson's anxieties, even though it wasn't necessary, as by that point Sloane wouldn't have felt a thing.

The nurse who scrambled to find nail polish so that Johnson could paint her daughter's fingernails for the first and final time. The nurse who left the room while Johnson screamed, so that the grieving mother wouldn't see the nurse cry.

The video resonated with so many and has since gone viral.

"Those final moments we had with Sloane were so important to me, and those nurses did everything they could to help us. She really did receive amazing care," Johnson says to Mamamia.

"Many of those nurses came to Sloane's funeral. I'd probably say about eight of her primary nurses attended. She was a popular girl. I also have received at least 10 letters from doctors that I wouldn't even think would remember her, telling us how much we meant to them and how memorable we were as a family. They were a blessing to us."


It's been nine months since Sloane passed.

Grief has been complex and painful. Johnson likes to focus on the memorable times she had with her daughter, as well as the amazing medical care she received.

"My baby girl was the happiest baby in the world. It didn't matter that she was on a ventilator, we took her everywhere after the NICU, and she experienced everything her brothers did. She was just my angel, my best friend. I miss her very much."

Recently Johnson, Davis and their sons marked Sloane's second birthday. They held a family event in their local park, Johnson saying it's important they continue to commemorate.

"The journey has been extremely hard, just trying to figure it all out. We recently made the decision to move to the beach, to give our boys a happier and healthier environment. I think a new home and new space was needed, as the memories there were too painful. We're just taking each day one at a time."

What Johnson wants people to know is just how much she appreciates all the medical staff that cared for Sloane and the countless other children who have been in NICU wards across the world.

"We wouldn't have been able to do without them. Those nurses still often reach out to us and ask if we're okay. They really are heroes."

Feature Image: Instagram @brittany_taylorj.