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Top in pulmonary care: Winnie’s story

June 15, 2020

Winnie’s CHoR journey began four years ago when she was transferred to our NICU from another hospital.

top pediatric pulmonology careWinnie enjoys life to its fullest and loves to laugh. Laughing wasn’t always so easy for the little girl who was born 10 weeks early and has experienced critical lung problems. 

Shortly after Winnie’s birth at a community hospital, she developed a hospital-acquired infection. Her mom, Rebekah, noticed her color seemed off, but didn’t anticipate what happened next. Early the following morning, Winnie coded. After a very difficult resuscitation, her airway was severely damaged. Rebekah and the medical team made the challenging decision that Winnie needed a tracheostomy, a surgically-created opening in the neck with a tube inserted to support breathing.

With her daughter still in the NICU, Rebekah had to return to work, though she dreaded the thought of not being with her baby all day. She asked to have Winnie transferred to CHoR, where she knew Winnie would receive great care and be closer to mom’s work. Already having endured a long road in a short amount of time, Rebekah now had to develop trust in a new health care team for her daughter.

Dr. Schechter in particular has been amazing. He has been her advocate from day one. One of the things that amazes me about him, and one of his partners Dr. Brockbank, is how they both spend time with her and never make us feel rushed when we talk to them,” said Rebekah.

Winnie’s first birthday stands out to Rebekah as one of those moments.

“Winnie was doing really well and we had a little get-together at the house. Well, she contracted her first cold, which for a trach baby is never just a cold,” recalled Rebekah. “We ended up in the ER. My dad came with me and we spent the night in the hospital. Dr. Brockbank took his time to work with my dad to get the proper tubing connection for Winnie’s oxygen. It took a while and he didn’t have to spend so much time with us, but we really appreciated the care he took.”

As Winnie has grown, Dr. Schechter has worked with the family and their home nurse to manage her illnesses at home and keep her out of the hospital when she gets sick – and because of his good care and diligence, they’ve been successful.

The pulmonary team has collaborated with ENT as well to ensure coordinated care that meets all of Winnie’s needs, sometimes teaming up in the operating room to do procedures together.

“On separate occasions, if Dr. Schechter or Brockbank saw Winnie’s name on the board in the OR, they always popped by to check in on her,” Rebekah added.

To these doctors and their colleagues, it’s all part of providing the best for their patients and among the reasons CHoR has been ranked among the top children’s hospitals for pulmonary care by U.S. News & World Report.

“The USNWR rankings of pediatric programs are based on criteria that specialists in our field have determined to be a reflection of quality of care. The recognition is nice – but, really, what makes me proud is that we can say, objectively, that we are among the best pediatric pulmonary medicine programs in the country,” said Dr. Schechter. “For families, that provides confidence that they will receive state-of-the-art care for their children with respiratory and sleep disorders.” 

Being in the health care field herself, Rebekah understands the importance of quality care and the many facets involved in providing it. As a mom, one of the most important to her is personal touch.

“It is very cool that she is being seen by doctors who are working in a nationally ranked hospital, but the fact they take the time to care, listen and celebrate her successes means even more to me as a parent. She's not treated like a number, a case study or a research project; she's treated like the person she is...a growing, thriving, loving child!”

This thriving child continues to see Dr. Schechter for regular appointments at our Fredericksburg Multispecialty Center, when she’s not busy taking care of her baby dolls, doing puzzles, riding her new bike, swinging, gardening with mom or just enjoying the fresh air outside!

Our top pediatric pulmonology team is here for your child. Learn more about our programs today.

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