contact information for fairfield memorial hospital




Karolee Vaughan, a former educator has taught everything from recess to college courses with most of her career focused on special education.  As an educator, she was dedicated to many hours providing those less fortunate with opportunities to reach their full potential.  Karolee eagerly planned her retirement this past May, not to end her career, but to start a new course of action to helping others.   Upon retirement, Karolee wished not to walk away from what she has done for many years, but instead, planned to start a tutoring business called Kidz Club, a program to help students who struggle in school settings. 

Soon before she retired, Karolee finally gave into the realization that knee replacement surgery would need to be her first order of business after retirement. On May 2, Karolee worked her last day as a Technical Assistant Supervisor for WOVSED. She planned to have the surgery and recover fully before opening her new business for the summer session. On May 3, Karolee spent her first official day of retirement having her right knee replaced. Surgery went perfect and was deemed successful by doctors. Several hours later Karolee had eaten supper and was trying to convince her husband, Robert, to go on for the night so she could rest.  In a matter of seconds, right before Robert’s eyes, Karolee suffered a massive stroke.  The stroke is thought to be caused by a blood clot.  She had no feeling in her right arm and lost her ability to speak. 

In an instant, her world changed.  There was no warning and no way to stop it from happening.  After many tests, the family was told that the stroke left a major portion of her brain injured.  Thankfully, her right leg (the new knee included) suffered little damage during the stroke. Her right arm seemed to slowly “wake up” over the next several days giving the family hope for a full recovery.  Slowly her speech improved as well.  The family celebrated every small milestone because they knew each accomplishment got her one step closer to recovery.   Upon being released from the ICU, the family was faced with the decision on where to go from there. Karolee had made gains in ICU but still needed intensive therapy to begin the recovery process. 

The chance of total recovery would be increased by admitting her into an inpatient acute rehabilitation center out of town, which was highly recommended by doctors and nurses.  Therefore, upon being released from the hospital, Karolee was transported to the inpatient rehabilitation center where she received speech, occupational, and physical therapy daily.  After being in the rehabilitation center for six days, Karolee was able to communicate (loud and clear) that she was ready to go home.  Because the family was aware of her strong will and dedication, they knew she would do whatever it took to continue to improve. 

The question was, “Where would they be able to find a top notch therapy department that would provide an intensive program needed to continue Karolee’s gains?”  Her family turned to friends and coworkers to find out what the best options were. 

After talking with many family and friends, Karolee’s family quickly learned that the best place for her was at home with the care provided by Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s team of Therapists.   Through FMH’s Home Health services the therapists went into Karolee’s home and performed all the necessary evaluations.  The Therapists quickly began Karolee’s daily regimented program in her home for several weeks, which included physical, occupational, and speech therapy. 

Soon, Karolee had improved enough to no longer require in home care and began outpatient therapy at the Fairfield Memorial Hospital.  FMH’s Speech Language Pathologist, April Best, M.S. CCC-SLP, suggested Karolee use her personal IPad to supplement her therapy to gain back skills lost due to the stroke.  Karolee’s experience with students with special needs had shown her that technology driven devices can do amazing things.  Between Karolee’s drive, the skilled therapists at Fairfield Memorial, and the technologically advanced applications on the IPad, Karolee made unbelievable strides in her recovery process.  Her rapid progress pleased therapists, and amazed friends and family. 

During this difficult time of struggle, Karolee and her family were humbled at the outpour of support from their friends and family. Karolee’s children, Sara, Robbie, and Brian received hundreds of private messages on facebook before any of them had publicly disclosed about her stroke.  They quickly decided to create a Facebook page, Prayers for Karolee, in order to update friends and family on Karolee’s condition. Less than twelve hours after creating the page, Karolee had close to one thousand members. The entire community and beyond were praying for Karolee.  The family and Karolee felt every one of those prayers. Many showed support by sending cards, providing meals, and phone calls. 

As support for Karolee grew, many wanted to do more, but were unsure what they could do.  Karolee’s wish was to find a way to give back to the community and individuals who helped her regain so much in so little time.  She wanted to use her misfortune to touch the lives of others who may become affected in the future.  Karolee knows she cannot stop tragedy from striking, but she can help others recover faster by donating an IPad to Fairfield Memorial Hospital for therapeutic use.  Therefore, in honor of Karolee’s wishes, family and friends quickly helped Karolee make the most of her tragedy by assisting her in purchasing not only one IPad, but two, with deluxe covers, and over $600 worth of ITunes Apps to donate to FMH’s Therapy Services department. 

“The IPads will be used to help patients recover from disorders such as aphasia, dysphasia, cognition, apraxia, and speech.  In addition, the Occupational Therapists will also be able to use it for fine motor and vision therapy.  Karolee has used her misfortune as an opportunity to help others utilize this new technology to enhance their recovery,” stated April Best, M.S. CCC-SLP.

“Mom has learned many things throughout her recovery, but one thing stands out.  The best facility for her was right here at home.  Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s dedicated therapists made a positive impact on her recovery and life,” said Sara White, Karolee’s daughter. 

Karolee has completed her therapy through the hospital, but continues to use her IPad to refine her skills.  She has made amazing improvement in a small amount of time, and she is hopeful that the IPads will be an additional tool for the therapists at FMH.

Some words of wisdom that Karolee often shared with her future teacher students, “This can happen to you,” and in a matter of seconds, it did happen to her.  She was suddenly thrown into the seat of the many students she had come into contact with throughout her career, but is has not stopped her drive to help others despite her tragedy. 

Pictured is the Vaughan family presenting two IPads to Fairfield Memorial Hospital. 

Sitting in front row from left:  Sara and Karson White, Karolee and Robert Vaughan, and Wyatt Vaughan.  Back row is Creson, Abbi, and Rick White, Summer & Brian Vaughan, Robbie Vaughan (holding Austin), April Best, M.S. CCC-SLP, and Jennifer Bowers, PTA.  Those unavailable for the photo were Natalie Vaughan and Gabe Matthews.



© 2018 Fairfield Memorial Hospital - Excellence in Community Healthcare
  Fairfield Memorial Hospital   |   303 N. W. 11th St.   |   Fairfield, IL 62837