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Hole in the esophagus

Childhood experiences impact our adult lives in big and small ways. Some lead us to decisions we make about where to live, hobbies to pursue, places we visit and where we call home. Often, they set us on a career path that allows us to use lessons learned early in life to help others. 
Such an experience is the reason Edith Turnipseed Grant grew up to become a pediatric nurse and a member of the Children’s of Alabama Committee for the Future.
Edith was born with trachea esophageal fistula, which is a hole in the esophagus. She was transported to Children’s immediately after birth and ultimately underwent 19 surgeries as a young child to correct the defect. Despite the success of the surgeries, though, Edith began developing bouts of pneumonia. Most required hospitalization.“

Edith Turnipseed GrantI remember a lot of my elementary school days were spent at Children’s,” Edith said. “It was a happy place. It felt like family. I was never scared. Looking back, I know my mom was scared, but it helped her that I was not. Children’s made my mom feel like she had some control when so much was out of our control. They listened to her and let her advocate for me.”
Edith’s personal experience as a hospital patient sparked her desire for a career in nursing. After graduating The Altamont School and the University of Miami, Edith earned her RN at Jefferson State Community College and her BSN from UAB. She worked at Children’s during her training and later in the asthma clinic and the emergency room of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Returning to Birmingham, Edith is now a stay-at-home mom to daughters Annie and Sybil, and her interest in and support of Children’s of Alabama has not waned. She is a new member of the Committee for the Future, a group of community leaders nominated by the Children’s Board of Trustees, former committee members and hospital leaders. Members share an interest in the impact of pediatric healthcare in Alabama and serve as advocates for Children’s following an intensive, one-day, in-hospital rotation that provides an understanding of the medical, surgical and psychosocial services offered. Edith said her rotation was very insightful regarding the growth of hospital services, the latest technology available in health care and the comfort provided to patient families.
“It’s important that we maintain integrity and advances so kids will benefit in the future like I did 30 years ago, and to support all the health care professionals who are trained at Children’s to continue that legacy 30 years from now,” Edith said.