The Amazing Downing Family
Caring even when there's no compensation
For Catherine and Adam Downing of Madison, Virginia, it was all happening again: another baby with severe, even life-threatening, feeding problems.
Tiny Nathan was diagnosed with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. Doctors sent the family to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, where Nathan could undergo surgery to insert a feeding tube. However, he might have other complications associated with tube feeding for extended periods. Instead, Children’s Hospital recommended the renowned Functional Feeding Program at The Children’s Institute. Health insurance would have covered the surgery, but did not cover the program.
President and CEO David Miles says, “We reach out to families like the Downings to help them obtain insurance Caring even when there’s no compensation coverage, but when that cannot happen, we provide unreimbursed care. It’s financially challenging, but our Board recognizes that it’s part of our mission.”
That’s exactly what happened with Nathan’s family. And it had happened nine years earlier with their first child, Emily. Catherine Downing says, “The heartache
is indescribable when you can’t nourish your child. You can’t imagine the relief, after so many people couldn’t help us, when we met the functional feeding team. There was so much knowledge, willingness to help and so much hope. Adam and I cried.”
During the family’s three-week stay, Nathan learned to eat and to keep food down and today he’s doing well. His parents have become donors to The Children’s Institute, hoping their gift will help others in similar situations.