By JAN HOFFMAN, New York Times

December 15, 2014

Orange, Calif. — Nick Meza, 18, recently had another five-day round of chemotherapy at the outpatient clinic here at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Usually those days drag for Nick, an Eagle Scout with a flashing grin, a hunger for conversation, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Like most patients who get intravenous medication at a pediatric clinic, Nick typically receives treatment in a small, curtained cubicle with hospital-green walls, outdated video games that are often broken, tiny TV monitors, and dividers that don’t muffle hallway clatter or the wails of a child in the next cubicle.