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 Colin

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When Colin Vaught was discharged from Vanderbilt’s NICU just seven days after birth, his parents breathed a sigh of relief. They had been told that children with Down syndrome bring their families a lot of joy. Though Colin’s diagnosis was unexpected, Jay and Gretchen Vaught looked forward to being a busy, joy-filled family of six.

However, at six months of age, Colin started vomiting blood. That brought him to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Doctors discovered a partial blockage or “stenosis” of his duodenum, and malrotation of the intestines. The corrective surgery took less than half an hour, but the procedure was life-saving. And, the experience was life-altering for his whole family.

“That hospital stay made us grateful to have a children’s hospital like Vanderbilt within 15 minutes of our home,” said Colin’s mom. “For the first time, we realized that hospitals aren’t always scary places.”

Once again the family returned to normal life. But something still wasn’t right with Colin.

“Colin’s oxygen saturations were always low,” his dad explained. “Looking back, we realize that he was always tired, didn’t eat well, and had a low energy level for his age. Other health care providers brushed off our concerns, so we tried to do the same thing.”

Colin had recurring upper respiratory infections and ongoing breathing issues that led to another stay at Children’s Hospital. This time it was for pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

“By the time he was admitted for pneumonia he had already endured a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for sleep apnea,” Gretchen said. “The recovery from that surgery was horrible, and he didn’t bounce back.”

Colin had also undergone an upper endoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy to investigate his six-month-long weight gain stall. But the procedures produced more questions than answers, and Colin continued to suffer.

Colin and his siblings

“We credit an attentive hospitalist with referring us to a doctor that put the puzzle pieces together for us,” said Jay. “Dr. Alice Rothman at University Pediatrics immediately started asking questions and making recommendations based on what she learned—from us and from Colin’s record. We now had a primary care doctor for Colin who we trust and with whom we feel partnered in his care.”

By paying close attention to Colin’s patterns and responsiveness to treatments, Dr. Rothman helped guide the Vaught family toward a productive course of action through which Colin avoids the monthly colds that led to more serious illnesses requiring hospital visits.

Also, 19-month-old Colin’s parents learned that his airway is the size of a newborn's. It’s likely that growth will be the best long-term solution for his issues. For now, deliberate but not burdensome home-monitoring helps Colin remain a delightful and thriving toddler.

“In spite of everything we’ve been through, Colin is so wonderful that we’d welcome another child just like him,” Gretchen remarked.

His dad, Jay, agreed. “By having confidence in Dr. Rothman and others at Vanderbilt, we can do what we do best – focus on enjoying our blessings.”

Colin’s mother, Gretchen Vaught, is a member of the Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council.

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