Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Meet Connor

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Connor Phillips was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 2,and his condition was well controlled with medication for most of his childhood. Then in early 2009, he began having unexplained seizures. He was fast approaching his 16th birthday and wanted to be able to get his driver's permit. He also worried about having a seizure in front of his friends andmissing too much school.

That's when his mother, Kristie Phillips, decided to look beyond their home near Sacramento, Ca., to find the best care for Connor. She heard about the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt through a family friend and decided to give it a try.

 "I was desperate, so even though Vanderbilt was far from California, I realized that I needed to do something in order for Connor to have the quality of life he deserved," she said.

Jesus Pina-Garza, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, evaluated Connor at Children's Hospital.

"Dr.Pina-Garza took the time to talk with Connor and me about quality of life and what is important to a 16-year-old boy. He talked to him about driving and life ingeneral. He validated Connor's concerns about seizures and the effect they haveon his life," Phillips said.

Pina-Garza ordered an electroencephalograph (EEG), which shows the brain's electricalactivity, and reviewed all the medications Connor had taken to control his epilepsy. It turned out that Connor had discontinued a drug that the EEGindicated would be best for him, so Pina-Garza added that back to his regimen.

Connor hasbeen seizure-free ever since.

 "Due to Dr.Pina-Garza's ability to look at the big picture, Connor is now stable and looking at getting his driver's permit in the spring," Phillips said. "Had Dr.Pina-Garza not thought ‘outside of the box' and taken the time to review the hospital records, we could have spent months or years trying other drugs."

Nothing holds Connor back from doing the activities he loves. He skis, snowboards, skateboards, long boards,plays soccer, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, hangs out with his friends, and likes video games too.

Phillips said a life of blood draws, EEGs and daily medication has made Connor into an easy-going but tough person.

"Once, just before a lacrosse game,Connor had a brief seizure in the car, I was ready to go back home, and Connorsaid, ‘No, I'm ok.' He went on to score two goals in that game."

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