Avery Award of Excellence in Pediatric Surgery

Dr. James DeCou

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Nominated by Phebe Hovingh

Dr. James DeCouDr. James DeCou was nominated by Phebe Hovingh, mother of Samson Hovingh. “Dr. DeCou received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (graduating with distinction) from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and then received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. His postgraduate training included an Internship and Residency in General Surgery at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover/Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dr. DeCou also completed two Fellowships, one in Pediatric Surgery at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and a second in Pediatric Surgical Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. DeCou is a board certified pediatric surgeon. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. Yes James DeCou is an amazing surgeon one of the best in Michigan but in the world of surgery there job is to cut. But here is what makes Dr. Decou an amazing human. He didn’t just help to heal Samson, he helped to heal me, the mom. In this foreign world of NICU I was at a loss. I had no skills when it came to being patient. I was the worst at listening to authority figures. Especially if they thought they were smarter than me. and Up until my first meeting with Dr. DeCou every doctor had treated me like I was stupid. that I was a necessity to provide milk for when it came time to feed. It wasn’t “smart” to worry myself with the little things in Samson’s chart. Well Dr DeCou never teated me like that. he would get out the chart and go over every letter with me. If I didn’t understand a term he didn’t talk down to me. He would define it and keep going. he discussed every possibility with me. He would draw pictures of Sam’s insides and diagrams. He included me in every detail. I feed off it. It was like TPN for my spirit. Finally someone was speaking to me not at me. Ask anyone who worked on Samson’s case and they will tell you Samson’s journey was anything but easy. Dr. Decou not only heals the patient but he heals the parent. I will forever cherish the extra time and energy that he put into Samson. Even though he saw countless patients he always made us feel like we were his only patient. His credentials are top but what makes him exceptional is his care.”