January 12, 2012

All in the Family: A community partnership helping children get well

A month shy of her first birthday, Marley McIver Molder spiked a fever of 104 degrees, and was unwilling to eat and lethargic. Worried about a high white blood cell count, a sign the body is fighting illness, her Columbia, Tenn., pediatrician sent her to be admitted to a local hospital. She had a serious kidney infection.

In what was a chaotic, frightening situation for her parents, Chaz and Elizabeth Molder, there was also a sense of calm. Twelve years earlier, as a teen, Chaz Molder had been admitted to the hospital with a kidney obstruction under the care of the same community pediatrician and the same specialist at Vanderbilt.

The same smooth, comprehensive care Chaz received, and that aided him in healing, was also helping his daughter. He wasn’t worried. He was confident she would be fine.

Day after day, children and families filter through the sliding glass doors of Children’s Hospital to receive the best care for the best chance at life.

They are sent by the more than 300 community pediatricians in private practices throughout Middle Tennessee and parts of Kentucky who coordinate with and refer to the physicians and subspecialists inside Children’s Hospital for specialized care. Together they work as one.

“It’s Vanderbilt’s hospital, but it’s also the community’s hospital,” said Bob Mallard, M.D., a pediatrician at Heritage Medical Associates in Nashville. “It is a resource without peers. It’s the only resource that most of us use for taking care of kids.”

Read the full story by Christina Echegaray, at