Drayke Alan Crom died at 8:55 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt, just two days short of being nine months old. Drayke was featured in our Dec. 19 front-page story on infant mortality. At that time his family and doctors had high hopes that he would live to his first birthday and beyond, and beat the grim statistic that Marshall County has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation.
As recently as the middle of this month Drayke was doing well, but he got the flu and an infection, and his heart gradually stopped working.
"One side of Drayke's heart is not working and they other half is working poorly," wrote his father, Robert Crom. "They have done all they can do... as of right now he is not going to make it through the night. We are taking him off life support tonight because he cannot recover from this. We had at least six doctors tell us this.... Our little bug has been through enough. He is not responding to anything."
Robert and Drayke's mother, Lorrie King, have been writing a blog of their son's progress since he was born 12 weeks premature on Apr. 28, 2008, weighing 1 pound 4.7 ounces and measuring 13 inches long. He was the oldest baby in the Vanderbilt NICU in early January, when he weighed 14 pounds 7 ounces and was 23.75 inches long.
Robert and Lorrie have given permission for an autopsy and research to be done so that, hopefully, doctors can learn something that will save other babies in the future.
There will be a memorial service for Drayke at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Chapel, 2200 Children's Way, Nashville.
The family chose to have the service in Nashville rather than Lewisburg so that more of the nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists from both Centennial and Vanderbilt could pay their last respects to the baby they took care of for so long. One little premature baby touched many lives, both directly and online in the blog at http://draykecrom.blogspot.com.
The family is asking that no flowers be sent. Memorial donations may be made to the Ronald McDonald House in Nashville in Drayke's name.
"They need the money more than Drayke needs the flowers," said Robert. "The Ronald McDonald House basically took care of us for three months."
If you go to the service, Lorrie writes, "Please park in the south garage off of either Children's Way or Pierce Avenue. Go into the hospital through the second floor garage skywalk. At the far end of the floor is the chapel."