Part two: Neonatal follow-up clinic helps Carlos thrive
As an emergency room tech at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital, Bree McCarty sees many vulnerable patients, including children. She credits her job for launching her foster parent journey with medically fragile infants.Feb 21st, 2022
By Kalyn Kinomoto
As an emergency room tech at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital, Bree McCarty sees many vulnerable patients, including children. She credits her job for launching her foster parent journey with medically fragile infants.
“One day at work after treating one of these infants, I immediately knew that I had to become a foster mom for children with unique health challenges,” she says.
McCarty knows firsthand how important it is to have access to care from developmental specialists because she’s relied on it for her own children, including 3-year-old Carlos.
McCarty and her husband Tim never intended to adopt, but that all changed when they met Carlos. The two recently celebrated Carlos’ long-awaited adoption into their family.
“Carlos was 4 months old when he was placed with us,” McCarty says. “We got the call a week before Thanksgiving that he needed a home for the holidays. We thought it’d just be another temporary placement, but we can’t imagine our lives without him now and are so grateful that he’s ours, forever.”
The McCartys didn’t have much information about Carlos and his complex medical needs, but they knew he was medically fragile and needed help.
“He was dropped off with a diaper bag, a bottle, an empty bottle of heart medication, seizure medication and a jacket,” McCarty says. “We knew that he was a patient at Mary Bridge, so that’s where we took him.”
They learned that Carlos was previously seen by John Derrick, ARNP, CPNP, MDiv, medical coordinator for the neonatal follow-up clinic.
“The neonatal follow-up clinic saved our child’s life,” McCarty says.
Carlos practicing his mobility and motor skills at the Mary Bridge Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit.
Derrick observed that Carlos had an unusually large head circumference and immediately sent him for imaging. Further tests and consultations with Mary Bridge Children’s pediatric neurology and neurosurgery physicians, among others, revealed that Carlos not only had hydrocephalus — a condition when fluid builds up on the brain — but was also missing part of his brain, required open-heart surgery and needed a G-tube for nutrition because he was failing to thrive.
Unfortunately, although Carlos underwent surgery to relieve the pressure of hydrocephalus, most of his medical issues were not addressed before he found his way to the McCartys.
“After Carlos was placed with us, we brought him to the clinic and John gave us more information about Carlos and his needs. He was visibly moved because he knew how sick Carlos was, but also because he could see Carlos beginning to make progress,” McCarty says. “John and his entire team always went above and beyond for Carlos. Every one of them at the clinic is an extension of our family. They are a huge reason why Carlos is doing so well today.”
The feeling is mutual.
Because Derrick follows clinic children from infancy through toddlerhood, he often forms special bonds with families.
“Bree is an incredible advocate for her family,” Derrick says. “I’m always thrilled when patients graduate out of the clinic because it means they’re doing well. It’s also bittersweet, though, because we spend so much time with each child and really grow to appreciate each one of them and their families.”
Thanks to the Mary Bridge Good Samaritan Children's Therapy Unit, Carlos is thriving in his new, customized and adapted wheelchair.
Today, Carlos is a happy and healthy 3-year-old.
He still faces some developmental delays and challenges, but he graduated from the neonatal follow-up clinic and, as McCarty says, is “doing amazing.”
Thanks to his speech, physical, feeding and occupational therapists at the Mary Bridge Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit, Carlos is crawling, learning to communicate and has freedom and mobility with his adaptive trike and wheelchair.