Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Pioneers of Hope - David Hall, M.D., MBA, MPH


by Kathy Whitney

David Hall MDDavid Hall, M.D., MBA, MPH, came to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in November 2013 to begin the new Program for the Medically Complex Child within the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Children eligible for this program are often dependent on medical technology such as feeding tubes, tracheostomy tubes, ventriculoperitoneal shunts or ventilators for their health.  Subspecialty clinics may not be able to provide needed comprehensive care, and primary care physicians often have difficulty providing the time or resources these children and families require.  Hall’s goal is for his team to partner with their primary care providers to coordinate their care and help families navigate what can be a complicated medical system.

“It’s exciting to be able to create a program I hope will have a lasting impact on families in the Nashville community,” he said.

Hall’s team will not focus on children with diseases already cared for in well-established programs for specific chronic conditions, such as those for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, diabetes or malignancy, but instead on children whose conditions don’t fit neatly into a single subspecialty.  Their multisystem illnesses sometimes place them at risk for becoming “medical orphans” with no place to go to unify their care.

Similar programs around the country, including the one that Hall directed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, have been able to dramatically reduce hospital days and emergency department use, while improving quality of care and patient satisfaction.

“Medical advances have led to the survival of many children who would not have survived in years past. However, this often creates a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. The percentage of children with multisystem complex conditions is growing rapidly. These children account for about 1 percent of all children but one-third of their health care costs,” Hall said.

The complex care team treats patients who have a host of problems.  Many are neurologically impaired due to brain malformations, genetic or metabolic defects, meningitis, central nervous system bleeds or other conditions.  They may suffer from complications such as seizures, recurrent pneumonia, feeding problems, trouble swallowing, developmental delays, kidney stones, abnormal bladder function and weak bones.

Hall, a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Medicine, served his residency at Johns Hopkins University, where he completed a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship in general academic pediatrics and was chief resident. He said he was attracted to Vanderbilt for its strong reputation, and he and his wife Michelle were eager to be closer to family who live in Nashville and welcomed the opportunity to return to the Southeast.

Hall said of their move to Nashville, “It’s a great city with a lot of energy. I feel like we’ve come home.”

Most of all, he embraced the chance to continue the work he finds “immensely gratifying.”

“The patients and families are so grateful when someone helps take ownership of their problems. I admire their strength and resilience, and it’s a privilege to work with them,” he said.

Last Edited: March 7, 2014
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