On the Pulse

Born with Bladder Outside His Body, Little Boy Helps Others with Rare Condition

Mick as baby - black and whiteWhen Mick Hullinger was born, the atmosphere in the birthing room was not what Leah Hullinger, a first time mother, had envisioned. Although all the ultrasounds had come back normal, as soon as Hullinger’s baby was placed on her chest, she realized something was wrong. Mick was born with bladder exstrophy, in which the bladder doesn’t grow correctly and sticks outside the abdomen, a rare disorder that happens in about 1 in 30,000 babies.

Mick was whisked away by ambulance to a specialty hospital in Salt Lake City, where the family lived.

“It was a whirlwind,” said Hullinger. “I checked out of the hospital only 12 hours after giving birth. I needed to be by his side. I never pictured this would happen; it’s not what you imagine when you’re having a baby.” Read full post »

Preserving Hope for Young Cancer Patients to Have Families in the Future

Shannon Keating had to think about fertility preservation before she began treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.

Family planning is not the first thing a young, newly diagnosed cancer patient might think about. But for adolescents and young adults facing cancer treatment that could leave them infertile, preserving the ability to have babies should be part of the conversation at the doctor’s office.

A new study published today in Cancer and led by Dr. Margarett Shnorhavorian, a pediatric urologist and researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute Center for Clinical and Translational Research, found a need for increased awareness of fertility preservation for young cancer patients. The study was based on 459 adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 or 2008. The patients were aged 15 to 39 years when diagnosed with germ cell tumor, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, acute lymphocytic leukemia, or sarcoma. Read full post »

Team Work and Unique Drug Protocol Help Aaden Beat the Odds

Aaden Adams with his parents, Cheree and Andrew Adams

Aaden Adams with his parents, Cheree and Andrew Adams

Aaden Adams remembers waking up in his room in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Seattle Children’s Hospital and asking for red Popsicles.

“Everybody wanted me to talk and I wanted a red Popsicle,” said the precocious 6-year-old with a face full of freckles. “So I asked for Popsicles. Do you remember that, Mom?”

“Yes, we remember that well,” answered Aaden’s mom, Cheree Adams. “That was a good day. That was the day we knew that you were on the right path. We knew that you were coming back to us.”

Just two weeks prior, Aaden, who was born with a congenital heart defect, was so near death that his parents were preparing themselves for the reality that he might not make it out of the hospital. It was a situation they had not even considered.

“He came here for a pretty minor procedure,” said Andrew Adams, Aaden’s father. “He was supposed to be in and out of the operating room, but then his body just shut down. His heart wouldn’t restart.”
Dr. Erin Albers, Aaden’s attending cardiologist, said the complication was so unusual that no one on the care team had seen it before. Read full post »

Sharing Medical Decisions with Parents and Patients: Crucial with Caveats

ThinkstockPhotos-78459865In the doctor’s office, words matter. The content of a conversation between doctor, patient and parent can change the course of treatment. Shared decision-making has emerged as the dominant model in medicine for these conversations. There is even evidence it can improve patient outcomes. But should doctors reconsider its constant use? Shared decision-making and its boundaries will be the subject of a discussion led by Dr. Douglas Opel at the 11th annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference, which is being held July 24-25 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle.

Opel, a faculty member at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s and a general pediatrician at Seattle Children’s, sat down with On the Pulse to discuss the concept of shared decision-making. Read full post »

Summer Heat Wave: Four Things Parents Should Always Keep in Mind

Water Safety 6 to 11Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing the hottest summer on record, and this presents real health concerns for families. Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, provides the following advice for parents and caregivers about how to beat the heat as well as keep their kids safe this summer:

1. Keep kids out of hot cars

Leaving a child alone in a car can have deadly consequences, even on just a warm day.

“It doesn’t take very long, a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body,” said Woodward. “When you combine this with the fact that the temperature in your car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, dangerous and potentially lethal heatstroke can develop quickly.”

According to KidsandCars.org, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.

Read full post »

NEST Program Helps Pediatric Providers in the Region Breathe Easy

A NEST Program simulation training

The NEST Program provides hands-on, simulation-based training in neonatal intubation and resuscitation techniques for pediatric providers across the region.

All new parents hope for a healthy delivery, but in the rare instance that an unexpected medical issue arises as baby enters the world, it’s crucial that the newborn delivery and transport care teams are well versed in performing neonatal emergency procedures.

Breathing difficulties are some of the most frequent unexpected medical issues in newborns, especially in preemies. According to Seattle Children’s neonatologist, Dr. Taylor Sawyer, about 10% of all babies born in the U.S. will need breathing assistance in the delivery room, and about 1 in 1,000 will need to be intubated, or have a tube urgently inserted in their airway to push air into their lungs. Fortunately, these emergency situations are uncommon. However, this infrequency can leave many delivery providers and transport teams in the community, who only intubate a newborn about once a year, feeling out of practice and a bit uneasy when required to perform this complex task.

This is why Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington have launched the Neonatal Education and Simulation-based Training (NEST) Program, which offers hands-on, simulation-based training in neonatal intubation and resuscitation techniques for pediatricians, nurses and transport team members across the region. Read full post »

Top 10 Questions Kids Ask Before Surgery

LIttle Girl QuestionsSurgery may sound like a scary experience, especially for children and teenagers, but it’s often necessary to help make them feel better and get back to life as usual. Below, Dr. Patrick Javid, a pediatric surgeon at Seattle Children’s, answers some of the most common questions he gets asked by patients and families before surgery.

Every week at Seattle Children’s, we perform 250-300 operations on children ranging from 2 hours old to 20 years old. Let’s just say that our operating room (“the OR” for short) is a happening place. As a pediatric surgeon, operating on children to improve their health and fight disease is what I do, day in and day out.

Having an operation can be really scary. Let’s face it — the OR is an unfamiliar and intimidating place if you don’t work there every day. In an effort to give children (and their parents, of course) a better understanding of what it means to have an operation at Seattle Children’s, here’s a list of my “Top 10 Favorite Questions from Kids Before Surgery.”

Drum roll, please… Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Offers Summer Scholars Program for Underserved Teens

summer scholars 2

The attendees of the summer scholars program visiting Pike Place Market.

Most teens aren’t keen on spending summer days in camp; they’ve outgrown sleeping bags and roasting s’mores. That’s why the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is hosting this week a summer scholars program designed to help teens create their own research projects on teen health and media.

Led by Dr. Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the SMAHRT team, the summer scholars program will ask 25 teens ages 16-18, mostly from the Kent and Highline school districts, to help design and answer their own research questions such as:

  • How does Instagram affect adolescents’ well-being?
  • Can you be addicted to the Internet?
  • Does Facebook influence health behaviors for college students?

The students will also learn about different types of research that seek to improve child and adolescent health while experiencing different paths to a career in research or healthcare. Read full post »

World Cup Shines Light on Female Concussions

Girls Soccer - WebThe Women’s World Cup is underway in Canada and soccer fans have been tuning in to watch some of the most elite female soccer players in the world compete for the title of world champion. But while most of the attention is on the competition itself, it’s also an opportune time to talk about one of the risks of the sport, concussions, according to Dr. Samuel Browd, a pediatric neurosurgeon and medical director of Seattle Children’s Sports Concussion Program.

“Soccer is commonly called out as an example of a sport that has a high incidence of female concussion,” Browd said. “And this is for a couple different reasons. One is pure numbers. Many women play soccer causing the sport to have a higher concussion rate. Women commonly get a concussion from heading the ball or from falling and hitting their head on the ground. But another reason is simply due to the way the sport is played: aggressively.” Read full post »

Lactation Consultants Help New Moms When They Need It Most

Juliette, who was too sick to nurse, was still able to get breast milk from her mom, Amanda, with the help of Seattle Children's lactation consultants.

Juliette (right), who was too sick to nurse, was still able to get breast milk from her mom, Amanda, with the help of Seattle Children’s lactation consultants.

Everything went perfectly when Amanda Erickson’s first baby was born. Bennet arrived right on time on March 11, 2012, healthy and eager to nurse.

Exactly two years later – on March 11, 2014 – Bennet’s sister, Juliette, came into the world. This time, says Erickson, “it was an adventure birth.”

In other words, nothing went as planned.

Juliette had been diagnosed before birth with a serious heart problem, and Erickson planned to deliver at the University of Washington Medical Center so her baby could get to Seattle Children’s right away.

“We knew she wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own,” says Amanda. Read full post »