Former C.H.O.G. Patient Returns to Learn From the Doctor That Saved Her Life 20 Years Ago


AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Miracles happen everyday at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman shares the story of a bond more than 2 decades old, between a doctor and his patient that has brought them back together.

Doctor Robyn Hatley saved Ellyn Strother’s life when she was just an infant. Now Strother has returned to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to learn from the physician that gave her a second chance at life.

20 years ago, Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Doctor Hatley met Ellyn Strother for the first time. Strother was an infant and had a heart condition that almost caused her to die.

Doctor Robyn Hatley saved Ellyn Strother’s life when she was just an infant.

“I take something that was broke and most of the time I am able to fix it,” Dr. Hatley told WJBF News Channel 6.

So he put her on a treatment that changed the course of her life forever. “E.C.M.O. [Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation] is usually a last resort type of thing. That means you either go on E.C.M.O. or you would probably pass and her family… her mom and dad said this is our baby push on,” the Pediatric Surgeon said.

A few years later, life would bring the two of them back together.

“My 9th grade year of high school. I had a friend who was under the care of Dr. Hatley and unfortunately he passed away and we met each other there, my mom introduced me.” Strother told WJBF News Channel 6. Now in her undergrad at the University of South Carolina, Strother has decided that she wants to study medicine… for many of the reasons she is alive today.

“And if do get to that point, where I get to be a physician. How you can really change other people lives and you don’t just.. once you heal someone and once you help them out. It doesn’t end there. It goes on beyond that,” Strother said.

Last summer, she decided to shadow the person who saved her life.

“People like her… those kinds of physicians that’s what we are looking for. We are looking for someone with compassion,” Dr. Hatley said.

Although Strother thinks Dr. Hatley is the one who changed her life, Dr. Hatley says she also changed his.”We see miracles everyday and she is one of our miracles and people look at parting the Red Sea as a miracle. They need to come up to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia and they can really see some amazing miracles in the 21st century,” he said.

Ellyn Strother is in her sophomore year at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Hatley, who’s been a Pediatric Surgeon at Augusta University since 1986, says he is looking forward to Strother being one of his colleagues in the future.

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