March 29, 2002

Campaign hoping for miracles

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Kelly Greene and mom Angie talk with Dr. Arnold Strauss, VCH medical director. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Campaign hoping for miracles

For 13-year-old Kelly Greene, life has been a series of hospital stays and surgeries.

Her mom jokingly says that her daughter has helped train more than 3,000 pediatricians while she’s been a patient at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Kelly has had 16 major surgeries and numerous outpatient procedures. She is one of two children chosen to be Youth Ambassadors representing VCH this year.

Since she was 6 weeks old, Greene has been in and out of the hospital. She spent two months at VCH as an infant, suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease. When her condition did not improve, she had an ileostomy to allow her large intestine to rest. After her initial discharge from the hospital, she continued to have medical problems, resulting in repeated admissions for failure to thrive and dehydration.

By the age of 5, she had both ears reconstructed, her gallbladder removed, a broken arm repaired, and numerous abdominal surgeries. In April 1998, she was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). A year later, Kelly was diagnosed with colorectal cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. She had two abdominal surgeries for cancer and chemotherapy from May 1999 until January 2000. Last October, her liver disease worsened, causing her lungs to fail. She was referred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a liver transplant. Vanderbilt does not currently perform pediatric liver transplants.

Now, more than a year after the transplant, she is attending school for the first time in three years.

“Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital is fantastic,” said her mom, Angie. “The teamwork and trust here are unbelievable.”

Angie Greene made her remarks before a crowd of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) volunteers, who raised more than $900,000 last year for VCH. Greene thanked the group that included staff from WTVF Channel 5, which has broadcasted the CMN telethon for the past 19 years.

Kelly also visited with Misty Chambers, MSN, RN, one of the primary care nurses when Kelly first entered the hospital. Chambers, director of planning for VCH, has been a pediatric nurse for 20 years.

“Misty was wonderful,” Angie Greene said. “As was all of the staff.”

Chambers, now in charge of planning for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has been working with families like the Greenes to ensure needs are met in the new facility, which is scheduled to open in 2003.

“We’ve designed the new hospital from the inside out,” Chambers said. “We have involved 28 different planning committees to ensure we have a state-of-the-art children’s hospital.”

“We are so honored and blessed to have this hospital right here in our community,” she said. “The miracles here never end.”