“I credit Dr. Vricella for Fletcher being alive today. He takes the care of his patients very personally. He is purely amazing—it’s simple as that.”
“This beyond-the-call-of-duty attitude is pervasive at Hopkins Children’s. NICU nurse Mike Di Julia who took care of Fletcher as a newborn ran a marathon for Fletcher a year after he was born.” - Julie Presgraves
Fletcher Presgraves was born with Cornelia De Lange syndrome, a rare condition resulting in multiple developmental and medical complications. Because of the complex nature of his condition, which affects several organs and organ systems, Fletcher is being followed by experts from various pediatric subspecialties, including cardiology, pulmonology, urology, ENT, neurology and ophthalmology. This multidisciplinary approach to care makes Fletcher's story a textbook Hopkins case.
LISTEN to Fletcher's Story - Radiothon 2011
Fletcher was also born with a serious heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot—known as the “blue baby” syndrome, treatment for which was pioneered at Hopkins Children’s in the 1940s. The condition required surgery, but because Fletcher was too young to have surgery at 2 months of age, he received a temporary shunt as a bridge to surgery. Pediatric cardiac surgeon Luca Vricella placed the shunt and went out of town. However, shortly before his discharge, a heart ultrasound showed that Fletcher’s shunt was blocked by a large blood clot. Fletcher was sent to the catheterization lab for clot-busting treatment. When Vricella was notified of this development, he rushed back to the hospital to treat Fletcher, even though there were other cardiac surgeons available. This is the kind of dedication Vricella has for all his patients, says Fletcher’s mom, Julie.
Shortly after the clot episode, Fletcher had two cardiac arrests in the span of a few hours. A critical decision was made: Doctors would operate on Fletcher’s heart despite his age and precarious health. The surgery was complicated and difficult, but Vricella and team managed to successfully fix Fletcher’s tiny heart.
“I credit Dr. Vricella for Fletcher being alive today. He is purely amazing,” says mom, Julie, adding that Vricella is a doctor’s doctor who takes the care of his patients very personally.
But this beyond-the-call-of-duty attitude is pervasive at Hopkins Children’s and goes beyond cardiology.
Neonatal nurse Mike Di Julia, who took care of Fletcher as a newborn at Hopkins, ran a marathon in Fletcher’s name a year after he was born.
The first year of Fletcher’s life was the most difficult, but he is currently stable and relatively healthy.