(5/21/12) - Recognizing the medical excellence of McLeod Children's Hospital staff, McLeod Health physicians, and other McLeod teams is a cause for celebration. And, thanking the generous sponsors who help make these extraordinary outcomes possible is another reason to join in with enthusiasm and festivities. The power of these two groups combined for the children of this region culminates each year at McLeod during the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration broadcast.
McLeod is one of the 170 children's hospitals in North America that make up the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for its members. Each year, these non-profit hospitals treat more than 17 million children afflicted with diseases, injuries and birth defects of every kind. Each year, more than 22,000 children receive care from McLeod Children's Hospital either as an inpatient, outpatient, or rehabilitation patient.
"A hallmark of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is that 100 percent of every dollar raised in a community stays there to help children in need," explains Davis Sawyer, McLeod Children's Hospital Fund Manager and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Director. "Children from throughout Northeastern South Carolina and Southeastern North Carolina benefit from funds raised in their communities for McLeod Children's Hospital."
The broadcast celebrates not only the successes attained at McLeod Children's Hospital, but also the amazing spirit that is so evident in the children who overcome physical and emotional challenges - - often greater than many adults ever face. But, they are not alone because McLeod physicians, nurses, therapists and staff provide excellent care and treatment, while families give love and hope, and donors at every level make specialized programs, equipment and services possible.
WBTW will broadcast live from the McLeod Children's Hospital Child Life Activity Center. The Celebration begins on Saturday, June 2 at 2:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m.
The 2012 McLeod Children's Hospital Miracle Children are the Lewis quadruplets, Blakeney Moore, and Harrison and William (Will) Walker.
The Lewis Quadruplets
Most young married couples dream of the day when they can announce to the world, "we are expecting our first child!" Matt and Susan Lewis of Florence were no different. They just did not expect to announce that they would soon be a family of six, with the addition of quadruplets on the way.
Susan Lewis' Obstetrician, Dr. Gary Emerson of McLeod OB/GYN, who has been in practice for 16 years, had never shared in the birth of quadruplets. This was a first for McLeod, too. Since this was considered a high-risk pregnancy, Dr. Emerson consulted on Susan's care with McLeod Maternal Fetal Medicine, a group of obstetrical specialists who treat patients with high-risk or complicated pregnancies.
McLeod Neonatologist Dr. Tommy Cox said the McLeod Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team was also informed that Susan was carrying quadruplets around the start of her second trimester. "We began to mentally prepare for how we would manage their care," he said.
On Thursday, June 30, at 33 weeks gestation, the Lewis quadruplets, Maylee Margaret, Addison Claire, Brayden Elizabeth, and Matthew Parker were delivered by cesarean section (c-section).
"This was the first set of quads under our care," said Dr. Cox. "But you still care for them like four separate babies. At birth, they all weighed well over two pounds, and they each breathed on their own. Maylee did develop a pneumothorax, common complication in preemies, but she recovered in 72 hours with placement of a chest tube."
The babies remained in the McLeod NICU for approximately one month, growing stronger and receiving around the clock care. "Maylee and Addison came home first on July 29," Susan said. "Brayden followed on August 1, and Parker joined his sisters at home on August 3."
Now 10 months old, each of the babies have developed their own distinct personalities, according to Matt and Susan. "Our family is complete, and we give thanks to God that we were chosen to bring these precious miracles into the world," added Susan.
Liz and Arthur Moore describe their daughter as an easy infant. "Blakeney crawled and walked on time. Everything seemed normal," said Liz. "However, when Blakeney was nearing three years of age, we started to notice a difference. Walking up a flight of stairs, Blakeney would swing her legs around instead of bending them at the hips and knees. If she fell down, she would sink straight down, like an accordion."
The Moore's were referred to Dr. Al Gilpin, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who cares for patients at the McLeod Children's Hospital.
"Blakeney was suffering from developmental dysplasia of the hip," explained Dr. Gilpin. "Discovering this condition in both hips of an older child is very rare. If left untreated Blakeney would experience significant problems in life with arthritis and ambulatory difficulties." Surgery was inevitable.
"Blakeney needed multiple surgeries," said Liz. "Dr. Gilpin performed surgery on one hip, allowed her a short recovery period, and then performed surgery on the other hip."
"Initially, we placed the ball of the hips into the sockets followed by reconstruction of the ligaments around the hips," said Dr. Gilpin. "Because the sockets were flat we had to cut the pelvis and reposition the sockets to contain the ball of the hip."
At the conclusion of each surgery, Blakeney required a body cast, which encases the entire body from mid-chest to the feet. The cast ensures that the body is not moved and will be able to heal properly.
Following surgery, Blakeney became a patient of the McLeod Children's Hospital and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). "We are grateful to the doctors and nurses at McLeod Children's Hospital," said Arthur. "Blakeney was their patient, but they also cared for us as her parents. Their knowledge and experience surpassed our expectations."
Blakeney needed physical therapy to help her regain the functional movements she had lost. "We re-trained her body to physically handle the weight on her legs, to walk again, as well as going up and down stairs," said Laura Eberhardt, a Physical Therapist with McLeod Pediatric Rehabilitation Services.
Blakeney endured six surgeries and one year of therapy. Today, she is a vivacious six-year old. She also continues to see Dr. Gilpin each year to have x-rays performed to check the growth of her legs.
Harrison and Will Walker
Dawn and Mitch Walker credit McLeod Health for saving the lives of their sons Harrison and Will Walker three times, and helping their growth and development in other ways. The twins were born at McLeod Regional Medical Center at 32 weeks gestation and required the lifesaving services of the McLeod Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) physicians and staff. Harrison faced a set-back, but 45 days later, they were well enough to go home.
At one-and-a-half years of age, the twin's Pediatrician Dr. Thomas Spence noticed the boys' speech was not progressing as it should. He recommended the twins enter into the speech therapy program at McLeod. "In addition to saving their lives, McLeod has helped them in so many other ways," Dawn remarked.
Four years later, the boys each underwent tonsillectomy surgery. However, a little more than a week later, Harrison required an emergency surgery to repair a bleeding blood vessel. "McLeod had all the assets they needed to care for our son," said Mitch. "If we did not have McLeod, Harrison would not be here today."
"We are so incredibly thankful to McLeod," said Dawn. "Not once, not twice, but three times they have saved Harrison's life, and they saved Will's life with the care they gave him in the NICU. They have also helped our children with the valuable services they provide in speech therapy."
"It was not luck," added Mitch. "McLeod has always been ready for us, and I will never stop appreciating that."
On Saturday, June 2, join the celebration and be a champion for children by watching WBTW News 13 and calling in your pledge to support the care of infants and children in our region at McLeod Children's Hospital.
Donations to McLeod Children's Hospital can be made during the Children's Miracle Network Celebration Hospitals Broadcast on WBTW News 13 by calling (843) 665-4100 or toll free 1-866-668-4862 or by visiting www.mcleodfoundation.org and clicking on the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals icon.
For additional information, please call the McLeod Health Foundation at (843) 777-2694.