CHESTERTON | As a nurse practitioner with CVS MinuteClinic, Natalie Babcock had seen her share of strep throat, bladder infections and allergy flare-ups.
But a murmur she noted echoing through her stethoscope one day last year may have saved a life and earned Babcock an accolade in the process.
The married Chesterton mom of four remembers the day she met Camie Brown "like it was yesterday."
Brown, a Liberty Township teen, was in for a routine physical.
"She was this cute, ponytailed, athletic girl who came in at the last minute for her physical," Babcock said.
Babcock and Camie's mother, Sophie Brown, chatted about their common threads as Babcock prepared for the exam.
"We started doing the physical," she said. "When I listened to her heart, that's when it all started. Her mom could read it on my face."
Babcock had Camie's mom, who also is a nurse, listen through the stethoscope.
Babcock couldn't clear Camie for sports activities, and she referred her for further testing.
A specialist discovered Camie had an atrial septal defect, a hole in her heart 2.6 centimeters big. And her heart was enlarged.
Doctors at Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., treated Camie, who has returned to life as a normal teen. She even went to Homecoming as part of a triple date with Babcock's son.
Babock's supervisors nominated her for a national award through CVS after hearing Camie's story and seeing Babock's history of volunteerism and positive reviews from patients.
The CVS Caremark Paragon Award recognizes the company's "best and brightest," according to CVS. It is the highest honor a colleague can achieve within the company.
Babcock and eight other employees from across the nation won.
"Natalie is a dynamic provider with excellent assessment skills who treats all her patients like family to ensure that they get the care and attention they need," said Patricia Chavez-Columbo, MinuteClinic statewide practice manager for Indiana. "Because of this, she changed the life of a young athlete. We're proud to have her on the MinuteClinic team."
Babcock was at a conference in Las Vegas when she was surprised with the news. She was flown to Orlando for the ceremony.
"I felt like a queen," she said. "They treated me like a rock star."
As part of the prize, Babcock and a guest will take an all-expense-paid trip anywhere in the world.
Babcock has since been promoted to clinic practice manager of five local CVS MinuteClinic locations.