Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Children's Hospital Logo
Connect With Us:

Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232


(615) 936-1000

Children's Hospital Logo
Home / Multimedia Library / Emily's Dotegoski, fetal surgery for repair of spina bifida
Printer friendly version of this page  E-mail someone a link to this pageBookmark and Share

Emily's Dotegoski, fetal surgery for repair of spina bifida

 
Emily Dotegowski’s spirit has inspired her family who say they are very proud of her. In this photo taken on Atlantic City Beach, Emily poses with her family. Emily and most of her family live in New Jersey.
Emily was born Nov. 23, 1998. Her mother, Maryann, was the 19th patient to undergo open fetal surgery at Vanderbilt to repair her unborn baby’s spina bifida. Emily is shown here moments after her birth at 34 weeks gestation.
Emily was born in her home state of New Jersey. Emily had a large spinal defect. Vanderbilt’s Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery Noel Tulipan, M.D., was able to close the spine without a patch or skin graft.
Shown here before her third birthday, Emily stands on a bathroom sink to sing. She wears ankle/foot orthotics that fit into her shoes and keep her feet in the proper position for walking. Emily learned to walk at 2 1/2 years.
At her family’s home in New Jersey, Emily attends a regular school and usually gets good grades. She gets physical therapy regularly to continue to retain and even gain better control of her lower body.
A tight-knit group of pre-study families continue to meet annually on their own. Shown here, Bruner (left) holds Emily, while Tulipan (center) hugs Maryann Dotegowski (right).
Emily (right) plays hand games with her friend Kate, who also had fetal surgery for spina bifida at Vanderbilt. Emily’s muscles will never be able to gain full strength and she tires easily, so she often uses her wheelchair.
It’s normal to see Emily without assistive devices. While she is paralyzed below the knees, Emily has enough hip and leg strength to support her own weight and walk under her own power, one benefit her mother attributes to the fetal surgery.
Now a 12-year-old middle schooler, Emily loves computers, sledding, bowling and roller skating. Last summer she visited Tinkers Island, Mass., with her brother Mike, (who she calls “Dote”), and a good friend, Eric Hennessey.

Maryann Dotegoski was the 19th patient to undergo open fetal surgery at Vanderbilt to repair her unborn baby’s spina bifida. Emily is now a 12-year-old middle schooler.

Related Links: Fetal Repair of Spina Bifida

Tags: Patient Stories, Patient Care, Surgery, Fetal Surgery
 
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network