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Porter Pediatrics sees growth, adds doctor

DR. ELIZABETH COOGAN

MIDDLEBURY — A Middlebury medical practice has marked a recent growth spurt with the addition of a new pediatrician.
Dr. Elizabeth Coogan has joined the staff of Porter Pediatrics Primary Care and is now accepting patients in their new office on the campus of Porter Medical Center.
Porter Pediatrics Primary Care moved this past fall into the Porter Hospital Collins Building on the north side of the Porter campus. It is the space formerly occupied by Middlebury Family Health and Rainbow Pediatrics.
The new space is larger than what Porter Pediatrics Primary Care vacated, and officials said it is an upgrade because if the office’s proximity to the Porter Birthing Center so that newborns who require the immediate attention of a pediatrician can be cared for in a very timely manner.
When a newborn baby is in distress, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. In March 2020, pediatrician Mike Seaton was seeing patients in the Porter Pediatrics office on Exchange Street when an urgent call came that a newborn was in cardiopulmonary arrest at Porter’s Birthing Center, 3.5 miles away. A pediatrician was needed on site, as soon as possible. Dr. Seaton had to rush to his car and navigate downtown traffic to reach his patient at Porter Hospital.
“There were two traffic delays that stopped me on the way to the hospital,” Seaton recalled.
When Dr. Seaton arrived at Porter Birthing Center, Baby Nash’s heart had stopped beating. Nurses were doing chest compressions and providing artificial ventilation. “The team of clinicians was doing an excellent job,” remembers Dr. Seaton. “They were focused and calm and doing everything they should.”  But certain procedures must be done by a pediatrician, and Nash needed a central IV, which Dr. Seaton inserted through his umbilical cord. The baby was also intubated. After the second dose of epinephrine was administered, providers detected a heartbeat and Nash’s color started to come back. 
“It was a huge team effort,” Seaton said. “You can’t overstate that the baby’s survival depended on what the team did before I got there and what we did together after I arrived.”
Nash was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at UVM Medical Center, and was discharged within a couple days.  Months later, he has had no adverse effects.  Nash’s mother, Melissa, chose Porter Pediatrics for Nash’s check-ups and always requests to see Dr. Seaton at his appointments.  The reunions often involve tears for both doctor and mother. “It’s still quite emotional to see that baby,” Dr. Seaton admits. “It was just the closest call. I feel extremely grateful.”
Since Porter Pediatrics moved into the newly renovated space the Collins Building (which is connected to the hospital), Dr. Seaton and his fellow pediatricians can walk down the hall and arrive at a newborn baby’s bedside in under a minute.

NEW PEDIATRICIAN
With the addition of Dr. Coogan, Porter Pediatrics Primary Care now has six health care providers (both physicians and advanced practice nurses) and nine other staff.
Prior to coming to Addison County, Dr. Coogan served as a pediatrician with the Colorado Permanente Medical Group.  She is a native of Concord, Mass., and attended Colby College in Maine.
“I have always wanted to be a doctor because the practice of medicine allows me to combine science and understanding the human body with caring for individuals and families,” Coogan said. “After finishing medical school at the University of Massachusetts in 2013, I moved to Colorado to complete my residency in pediatrics at the University of Colorado. I then worked as a primary care pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente Colorado for four years where I was also the medical technology lead for my colleagues in primary care and the champion for transgender care in our department.
“I chose a career in pediatrics because I love seeing children grow and develop,” she added. “I enjoy helping families through every stage of childhood and adolescence and the myriad challenges and opportunities each stage presents. I love meeting and getting to know kids of all ages and their families and working together to promote their health and well-being. I speak Spanish and English and am happy to conduct visits in both languages. ”

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