Melissa Birk thought her infant son’s head didn’t look quite
right. Though she voiced her concern with her pediatrician, it wasn’t
until an appointment with a different pediatrician, Campbell County Medical Group
Dr. Vijaya Koduri, that her son’s serious condition was diagnosed.
Melissa had taken Jonah to CCMG’s
Walk-in Clinic in May 2015 for what turned out to be RSV, a respiratory virus that can
be serious in young children. She needed to schedule a follow-up appointment
and when she couldn’t get into her son’s regular pediatrician,
so she scheduled one with Dr. Koduri. It was at that appointment that
Dr. Koduri noticed that Jonah’s head was developing abnormally.
“The first thing she noticed was there was a problem with his head,”
Melissa said. “It’s something she caught right away. It was
frustrating because we had pointed out the issue to other doctors.”
After examining Jonah’s head, Dr. Koduri ordered a number of tests
and Jonah was ultimately diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a birth defect
that causes a baby’s skull to close prematurely before the brain
is fully formed. Untreated, it can cause blindness and developmental delays.
Because Dr. Koduri was able to properly diagnose Jonah, he was able to
have surgery at
Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver to correct the problem.
“It could have been a bad deal for him,” Melissa said. “She
saw him the day we got back from Denver,” and Dr. Koduri has been
Jonah’s pediatrician ever since then.
Since his diagnosis, Melissa has moved not only Jonah to Dr. Koduri’s
care, but her daughter’s as well. With Dr. Koduri’s professionalism
and knowledge, along with her ability to connect with children, Melissa
said she’s thankful her children have great care.
“I like that she’s very professional and describes everything
in detail,” Melissa said. “She’s friendly and very knowledgeable.
My kids really like her.”
Building that strong connection with patients is important to Dr. Koduri,
who has been practicing in Gillette for more than two years.
“My patients are small children, so I come to their level,”
Dr. Koduri said. “Interaction before examination helps make them
Because many of her patients are small children, Dr. Koduri also must communicate
important health care details to the parents of her patients. That unique
triad between the patients, parents and doctor is a unique dynamic that
Dr. Koduri said she enjoys working with immensely.
“I try to explain to patients and their parents what’s going
on in a language they understand,” Dr. Koduri said. “Parents
need a lot of reassurance and explaining what’s going on with their
child. Clear communication between the physicians and parents is important.”
A thorough head-to-toe examination of patients also helps to ensure she
doesn’t miss anything, Dr. Koduri said. Even if a patient is in
for vaccinations or treatment for a cold, she makes sure to check everything,
which is why she said she believes she was able to catch Jonah’s
“If I follow the protocol of examining from head to toe, I don’t
miss many things,” Dr. Koduri said.
For Melissa, that thoroughness makes her trust that her children receive
high quality health care through Dr. Koduri.
“She’s someone we can trust,” Melissa said. “She
really recognized a misdiagnosis and we’re very happy with the care
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer