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As a Pediatrician and Foster Parent, Dr. Weddle Gives Children Hope


February 25, 2022 is the UK College of Medicine Thank A Resident Day. Students, faculty, and staff take the opportunity to thank residents and fellows for the tireless work they do to help patients and peers alike. Leading up to February 25th, UK College of Medicine highlighted several learners, including our own Dr. Lily Weddle, UK Pediatric EM Fellow. Lily has been stalwart in her dedication to the wellbeing of children both inside and outside of hospital walls for many years. Below is an excerpt from Audrey Kirby's article for UKHC's The Loop: “I was in the role of a pediatrician, but I thought, ‘What can I do more for these children? This doesn’t feel like enough.’” Whether it was pediatric neurology, pediatric surgery, or pediatric emergency medicine, Lily Weddle, MD, found a recurring theme in the clinical rotations she enjoyed most during medical school – they allowed her to help children. It became obvious to her that for residency, pediatrics was her ultimate specialty.

Driven by her strong faith, Dr. Weddle says it is her calling to be there for children in their ultimate time of need. Today, she has found a way to answer that call, both during and outside of work.

Dr. Weddle is the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s first pediatric emergency medicine fellow, providing care for young patients in the UK HealthCare Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Room. She also is a foster parent and foster parent mentor, an idea that came from working with foster children during medical school and being involved in her church’s ministry for children in foster care.

“It was something that I felt strongly, that God was putting a calling on my life,” she said. “I was in the role of a pediatrician, but I thought, ‘What can I do more for these children? This doesn’t feel like enough.’”

As foster parents, Dr. Weddle and her husband work with the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services to offer temporary care for children who are in custody of child protective services.

Dr. Weddle considers this role to be a privilege. Sometimes, she witnesses first steps or first words being spoken. Her family even adopted a child they fostered.

“I've gotten to love extra children and to be their mom, even if just for a time, and I think that's really special. It is a beautiful thing to even be able to be with them for a few months of their life,” she said. “You just love them and you give them a safe place. It’s very messy sometimes, and there are lots of tears, but there's also lots of laughter and joy.”

Dr. Weddle has been a foster parent for three years now, all in the midst of her residency and fellowship program. Incorporating this new lifestyle meant navigating her busy clinical schedule, but she said that being a doctor also offers its own advantages.

“I think it's giving me interesting perspective as a doctor because when I meet those kids or I meet those families, whether they're coming into care or they're coming out of care, I have a better glimpse into their story,” she said.

One year ago, Dr. Weddle and her husband had a baby, so they have taken a break from foster parenting. However, they remain involved through the UK College of Social Work as foster parent mentors. Through this role, they are able to use their experiences to help other families handle the unexpected challenges of providing foster care for children.

“I think God brought us both to a place where we thought, ‘This is a beautiful thing that we can do,’” Dr. Weddle said. “It's nothing I would have ever expected to do, but it has been a wonderful part of our story.” See the original article here: https://med.uky.edu/news/pediatrician-and-foster-parent-dr-weddle-gives-children-hope

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