Chattanooga, Tenn. – Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is proud to announce Greer Cofield has been named this year’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Tennessee Champion. Greer will serve as a fundraising and awareness ambassador for Children’s Hospital, Tennessee and all the children treated at the North American charity’s 170 member hospitals.
Six-year-old Greer, from Cartersville, Ga., was chosen for facing her unique medical challenges with courage and will serve to illustrate the impact of Children’s Hospital and why donating funds are needed for treatment, recovery and charitable care. This fall, Greer and Champions selected from each state will gather for an official ambassador trip to Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla.
Greer received a traumatic brain injury after a horse kicked her in the head on October 8, 2012. She had a laceration from the right side of her forehead to her ear, the right side of her face was crushed and she was unconscious. LIFE FORCE flew her to Children’s Hospital where she had reconstructive surgery to her face and spent seven days in the pediatric intensive care unit and three days on the inpatient floor. Specialists anticipated Greer would have months of speech therapy and may require an inpatient rehabilitation facility. After the transfer assessment, it was decided she only required outpatient therapy. She had the ability to walk and talk just as she did before her accident. And just as she has done for the last three years, she is back in the saddle again taking riding lessons.
“When given the option to either transport Greer to Atlanta or to T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, God led us here,” said Greer’s mother, Shannon, during the ceremony. “Dr. Sargent put her back together and made her beautiful again. He never saw a picture of Greer before her accident. He is just that gifted.”
“Greer has an unusual story because of the combination of injuries she had,” said Dr. Larry Sargent. “She had a multitude of skull fractures, the crushing type from a tremendous amount of force. There was also concern about brain injury and soft tissue injury.”
Not only did Dr. Sargent use screws and plates to reconstruct her face and head, he also used special mesh he designed to restore the bones. But he is careful not to take all the credit for her miraculous recovery.
“It takes a team with technology, skills and experience to provide the best care for children,” added Dr. Sargent. “Children’s Hospital and the Craniofacial Center can bring that kind of expertise to evaluate and treat these kinds of injuries. This is also a celebration of all the specialists who come together to provide that care.”
Greer’s family continues to support Children’s Hospital through special events and fundraising activities. Her father, Gregg, exhibits his race car with logos of Children’s Hospital, CMN, and the Children’s Foundation displayed on the car. The family is always eager to share their gratitude and appreciation for the healthcare workers such as medics from Bartow County, Ga., the LIFE FORCE team, emergency room personnel, radiology department, PICU, Child Life and specialists Dr. Larry Sargent and Dr. Philip Megison. They are also thankful for agencies such as the Craniofacial Foundation of America and Ronald McDonald House for their support services.
“Never in my wildest dreams had we thought we would be here today,” said Gregg. “The services our family received at Children’s Hospital were just unbelievable. Everybody is like family to us.”
“As the 2013 CMN family, we are committed to represent all of you with the warmth, compassion and care you extended to us while we were at the hospital,” Shannon told the medical staff and hospital representatives.
A member of CMN Hospitals, Children’s Hospital has received financial benefits through corporate fundraisers and private donors. In fact, Greer benefited from services such cranial imaging from the dedicated pediatric CT Scanner, medication through smart technology IV pumps and a private room in the renovated PICU, which all made a significant impact in the medical care she received for her injuries.
“Children’s Hospital is your hospital,” said Todd Grantham, East Regional Director of CMN. “All the funds raised here, stay here.”
Children’s Hospital also thanks Delta Air Lines, the official sponsor for the 2013 Champions program, and Chico’s FAS, Inc. as a presenting sponsor.