Grieving Mom Sends Message to Nurses Who Were at 17-Month-Old Daughter's Side During Her Final Moments (Exclusive)

Brittany Johnson thanked the medical staff for the ways they helped at the end of her daughter's life, from administering medicine to helping paint her nails

<p>Kelli Rolfing; Brittany Johnson/TikTok</p> Brittany Johnson

Kelli Rolfing; Brittany Johnson/TikTok

Brittany Johnson's daughter Sloane on her first birthday; Brittany Johnson and Javier Davis on Sloane's honor walk
  • After Brittany Johnson's daughter, Sloane, died at 17 months old, the grieving mom took to TikTok to share a message for the nurses

  • Johnson posted footage from Sloane's honor walk and, in a series of captions, detailed some of the ways the medical personnel went above and beyond

  • The TikTok video has reached over 2.2 million view since Johnson posted it in April

For nine months, Brittany Johnson watched her daughter, Sloane, fight for her life in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Sloane was born prematurely with a genetic condition in May 2022. She spent most of her infancy in the NICU, but was eventually discharged from the unit. Sloane spent her first birthday out of the hospital and was living at home.

But things took a rapid turn during an October 2023 family outing when Sloane suddenly stopped breathing. After being transferred to the hospital, the 17-month-old was later taken off a ventilator and died.

Although Johnson did not get to take her baby home, she says she did leave with deep gratitude for the nurses who were there during Sloane’s last days.

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Due to a number of medical complications, Sloane was unable to donate her organs after she was declared brain dead. Still, Johnson tells PEOPLE that her daughter’s nurses wanted the family to experience the ceremonial "honor walk" many donors take on their way to the operating room.

Six months after Sloane's death, Johnson made a TikTok using footage of her and her boyfriend, Javier Davis, carrying their daughter on her "honorary honor walk." In overlaying text, Johnson took the opportunity to share how Sloane's nurses went out of their way for her family.

“We could truly never imagine how those nurses do it … but they do," Johnson — who is also mom to three sons — wrote at the beginning of the video.

<p>Brittany Johnson/TikTok</p> Brittany Johnson walking through the NICU

Brittany Johnson/TikTok

Brittany Johnson walking through the NICU

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The TikTok creator continued to specify some of the nurses' meaningful gestures that have stuck with her.

“To the nurse who scrambled to find me fingernail polish, because I never got to paint my [daughter's] nails. Thank you," Johnson wrote. Another nurse tied Sloane’s hair up into pigtails before her “last wagon ride” down the hospital hallways.

Johnson also detailed the “compassionate” medical personnel who did their best to stay strong at times when their patient’s family could not.

“To the nurse who had to leave the room while I screamed … so I wouldn’t see you cry,” Johnson continued. “I saw you. I thank you."

<p>Courtesy of Brittany Johnson</p> Brittany Johnson's sons with her daughter, Sloane, in the NICU

Courtesy of Brittany Johnson

Brittany Johnson's sons with her daughter, Sloane, in the NICU

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The TikTok — which has reached over 2.2 million viewers on the app — also nods to the nurse who continued administering morphine to keep Sloane comfortable after she was taken off the ventilator. Johnson tells PEOPLE that this gesture stands out as particularly profound.

“Right before she passed, she had really deep breaths where it just looked like she was uncomfortable,” the Baltimore-based mom recalls of her daughter’s last moments. “[The nurses] were just doing everything they could to help that transition … Even though we knew she was comfortable, it was just easing my mind."

Johnson and Davis kept in touch with the nurses after they left the hospital. Several of them attended Sloane's funeral, along with some of her doctors as well.

“[Nurses] do a lot more than we realize,” Johnson tells PEOPLE. “They experience a lot more. They go through this over and over and over again. And that really touches me, realizing just how involved they are with these families.”

<p>Kelli Rolfing</p> Brittany Johnson's family

Kelli Rolfing

Brittany Johnson's family

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TikTok has also provided Johnson with a supportive community and an outlet for her grief. She says she often feels more comfortable expressing her grief on camera than she does during face-to-face conversations.

With the help of social media, Johnson has even heard from people who crossed paths with Sloane at the end of her life, from paramedics who were on the scene when the little girl stopped breathing in October 2023 to bystanders who witnessed the emergency response.

"Everybody's reached out just to send their condolences to us," she tells PEOPLE. “It's been a really touching experience."

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