A Vanderbilt University Medical Center News and Public Affairs Publication GIVING / CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL / VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital
... on their way

In this issue: SUMMER 2010

Welcome letter
Big dreams for tiny babies
The thrill of discovery
A joint effort
Born too soon
The nature of nurture
Steeplechase benefits Children's Hospital
Friends and fashion



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In memory of Garrett

By Carole Bartoo / June 2010

Sometimes storytelling becomes part of the story.

On April 6, Vanderbilt University Medical Center photographer Joe Howell went to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville to capture a portrait of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Carla Saunders.

Saunders chose 8-day-old Garrett Layman to pose with because he was doing so well. Saunders said he even opened up his eyes as if to pose. “Garrett’s parents watched anxiously and excitedly. We joked about it being his first modeling job,” Saunders recalled.

Seven hours later, Garrett died from an overwhelming central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI), the very type described in this story.

“I watched a mother go from the most exciting moment since birth to the worst feeling any mother could possibly experience. I watched a father, big and strong, fall to the helplessness of watching his child die,” Saunders wrote in an e-mail to TIPQC colleagues, saying the experience was one of the most difficult she had in her many years as a nurse.

Garrett’s mother, Holly, allowed On Their Way to publish the photograph, saying she is grateful she has these special photos of her son and hopes his story will help TIPQC.

“It’s bittersweet. It puts a face to this problem and we hope it will help people understand how important it is to prevent these infections,” Layman said.

Saunders said she believes it is important that Garrett’s story be told.
“His parents and our institution want his life to mean something to others. We hope to share what we learn with other institutions that have an interest in improving patient safety and outcomes,” Saunders said.




Send the editor your thoughts about this story, or share ideas for other stories.


Friends and fashion By Kelly Archer

Steeplechase benefits Children's Hospital By Jessica Ennis

The nature of nurture By Jessica Ennis