Their lives have never been ordinary or traditional.
Cathy has spent her life singing and dancing on stages across the country and around the world, regularly performing on luxury cruise liners. She additionally operates one of the top vocal studios in Richmond, VA, The FitVoice.
Alan became an Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant after traveling the world with the U.S. Navy, and working some in the entertainment industry before returning home to Richmond.
A few years after marrying, they decided to start a family, and were thrilled at the news they were expecting twins. Lola Jayden and Grayson Howard Fitch were born at 32 weeks. Though early, there were no apparent complications. The babies were admitted to the NICU, not only for observation, but also to have time to grow and mature. Cathy and Alan loved, laughed and sang to the newborns, hardly leaving their sides.
Life was beautiful, until one week later on June 5th, 2009, when the family’s world turned upside down. Throughout the night, Lola’s health spiraled out of control, and within six hours, Cathy found herself holding her daughter as she took her last breath and died unexpectedly: the result of a series of miscommunications, misdiagnoses and medical errors - a tragic situation that was preventable. Sadly, she became one of the estimated 210,000 to 400,000 preventable deaths in the United States caused by medical mistakes each year.
After the tragedy, Cathy and Alan’s life crumbled. They were emotionally torn between the immense love and gratefulness they shared for Lola’s twin brother, Grayson, and the grief they were feeling after the shocking death of his sister.
After months of devastating turmoil, they ultimately chose to transform their grief and unite in the belief that Lola’s story had the power to save lives and educate healthcare providers on how these types of medical errors can be prevented. As a result, the couple now travels to medical and physician assistant schools across the country. They speak from the perspectives of a father who is a healthcare provider, and a mother who demands answers, and speaks from her heart.
Their goal is straightforward: To bring awareness by sharing the mistakes made in a breakdown of communication, teamwork, escalation and empathy while focusing on change as opposed to blame.
Their message to medical professionals is simple: Communicate, escalate and take time to give the best care for every patient every day.
Their strength and commitment offers hope and inspiration for the future.