A 3 a.m. experience was the catalyst for a career in pediatric surgery
for Children's Hospital's newest subspecialist. William Glaze
Vaughan, M.D., who joined Children's Hospital in 2012 as the new Director
of Pediatric Surgery, was inspired during residency by his mentor, Dr.
Darrell Hermann, during that 3 a.m. surgery.
"His eyes gleaming, Dr. Hermann looked at me and said, 'Can you
believe they pay me to do this?'" Dr. Vaughan said. "His
passion and enthusiasm for the surgical care of children ignited my desire
to pursue a career in pediatric surgery."
Dr. Vaughan eventually completed a fellowship in pediatric surgery in
Indianapolis and most recently has been in practice in Fort Worth, Texas.
"I care deeply for children. As the father of four, two of whom have
undergone surgery, I am keenly aware of the emotional distress and anguish
that parents experience when their child has surgery," Dr. Vaughan
said. "Being a father has made me a better doctor, and being a doctor
has made me a better father. It's an honor and a privilege to care
for children. When parents entrust me with their child, I assure them
that I'll care for their child as though the child was my own."
Dr. Vaughan and his wife, Kimberly, are both originally from Georgia,
so returning to the southeastern United States was appealing. When he
visited and interviewed at Children's Hospital last summer, he found
himself impressed with both the scenery, which appeals to his love of
outdoor activities, and the people: "I went home and told my wife
it felt 'familiar,' like a family reunion. There was a sense of
home, and the people were kind and genuine and generous."
As a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Vaughan treats patients from birth to about
age 18 - that encompasses premature infants weighing barely a pound (and
who will fit into the palm of his hand) up to teens who have reached maturity.
"They have different body types, different physiologies, different
diagnoses," he said. "So it's very broad. It's always
interesting and offers a great deal of variety."
Common surgeries include hernias, "lumps and bumps," appendicitis
and circumcision. On the other end of the scale are the more complicated
and unusual cases - neonatal surgeries, chest wall deformities, fundoplications
for gastroesophageal reflux disease, congenital lung cysts, gastroschisis
(intestine outside the abdomen at birth), diaphragmatic hernias (hole
in the breathing muscles) and solid tumor cancers.
Any case can be complicated if the patient has a variation of the disease.
"Many children will have a surgical condition that is not a 'textbook
case,' so we sometimes have to step way outside the box to think of
the possibilities and ways to provide the best care for each unique case,"
Dr. Vaughan said.
Dr. Vaughan enjoys working with families in tackling the challenges of
providing the best surgical care for their children. Pediatric surgeons
are faced with technical challenges, such as operating on a premature
baby that may weigh little more than a pound, and physical challenges,
such as correcting a deeply depressed chest wall deformity. According
to Dr. Vaughan, his greatest challenge is the emotionally heavy responsibility
of delivering heart-breakingly bad news. "When the outcome is not
good, such as for a child who has experienced a severe traumatic accident,
it is more than difficult to tell the parents their child is no longer
However, medical science progresses at a rapid pace, offering Dr. Vaughan
and his pediatric surgery colleagues new instrumentation and procedures
to provide better care. For example, minimally invasive surgery is possible
in even the smallest neonatal patients now because of the miniaturization
of surgical instruments. "Minimally invasive surgery offers decreased
pain, decreased morbidity, less scarring and sometimes even better outcomes
than traditional surgery," he said.
Keith Goodwin, President/CEO of Children's Hospital, said of Dr. Vaughan,
"We're thrilled that he's come to join Children's Hospital
and lead our pediatric surgery group in providing care to the children
of this region.