Archive for January 2013

Monthly Archive

Craniofacial microsomia: A young boy transformed after surgery

Mavrick before surgery

Seven-year-old Mavrick Gabriel of Kenai, Alaska could be described as being “beyond his years.” He’s compassionate in a way that you don’t often see with young children, and he wants to educate others about his birth defect, craniofacial microsomia, and to help kids in the process.

Mavrick was born without a left ear and with a very small jaw that did not have a joint on one side.  He can’t eat solid foods, has to use a feeding tube and his speech is affected. In June 2012, Gabriel and his family invited television cameras to capture a surgery—one of dozens he’s endured—that helped move him closer to having a jaw.  But he doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him. “Most kids never have to go through this and I’d like to help other people with what I’m going through,” Mavrick said.

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8 activities to get kids outdoors in cold weather

Winter weather can make getting outdoors seem like an ordeal – cold temperatures, snow and ice and a lack of summer sunshine can make even the most outdoorsy family want to stay inside. Pooja Tandon, MD, a childhood health researcher with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a pediatrician, encourages children and families to get out, no matter the weather.

Outdoor winter playA recent study led by Tandon found that nearly half of U.S. preschoolers did not have even one parent-supervised outdoor play opportunity per day. The study also found that girls are less likely to play outside than boys and that mothers took their children outside to play more often than fathers. Fifteen percent of mothers and 30 percent of fathers did not take their child outside to walk or play even a few times per week.

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Breaking the silence after stillbirth – One family’s story

This Thursday, Jan. 31, is our daughter Emily’s 10th birthday, a time that should be filled playfully gathering with friends and giddily unwrapping presents. But Emily will never experience any of those things – she was born still.

Stillbirth is an all-too-common tragedy. In the U.S., 26,000 babies are stillborn every year – that is one baby, one family, every 21 minutes.

We were so excited to be pregnant with our first child, we never considered the possibility of a stillbirth—it was the only chapter in our pregnancy book that we skipped.

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Christian Bale makes special call to young Batman fan battling leukemia

Jan. 30, 2013: Zach received a care package full of Batman goodies from Christian Bale this week, and his reaction was priceless:

Jan. 25, 2013: A young Seattle Children’s patient – and avid Batman fan – got a special surprise last week, when actor Christian Bale called him in his hospital room. 8-year-old Zach Guillot, of Dallas, Texas, is battling acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently a patient in the hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, where he is recovering from chemotherapy in hopes of later receiving a bone marrow transplant. It will be his third transplant since he was first diagnosed in February 2010.

“Everyone knows Zach is a big Batman fan,” said Jeff, his father.  “One of our friends called Christian Bale’s agent, cold-called-him from what I understand, and told him Zach’s story.”

On Jan. 18, Bale called Zach to talk about costumes, little brothers who moonlight as trusty sidekick “Robin,”and Zach’s homemade Batmobile. Zach’s parents, Julie and Jeff caught the conversation on video and shared it on YouTube.

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Seattle Children’s Patients Star in the Children’s Film Festival Seattle

TheatreNorthwest Film Forum’s 8th annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle will be rolling out the red carpet to children and their families today through Feb. 3. It has become the largest film festival on the West Coast dedicated to this young audience, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 15 to 20 U.S. cities.

New this year, current and former patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital will have a few very special starring roles in the festival.

Lights, camera, action!

The festival will showcase more than 120 innovative, inspiring and fun films from 38 countries. Children’s is excited that five short films created by patients or featuring patients’ creative works have been selected to be shown at the festival.

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Seattle Children’s New Directional Wayfinding System: Art Design

Mountain Zone Mural - Bears

Mountain Zone Mural – Bears

We’re a mere three months away from opening Building Hope, our cancer, critical and emergency care expansion. Building Hope will create positive change for our hospital campus: the addition of spaces that are physically and functionally flexible; design that promotes a safe and healing environment; and spaces that improve flow and efficiency.

It’s a great milestone for Seattle Children’s – but the added space will substantially alter our hospital footprint.To seamlessly weave Building Hope into the hospital layout, Children’s today unveiled a new directional wayfinding system to help patients, families, staff and visitors easily navigate the expanding campus. “Wayfinding” includes signage, maps, colors, floor numbers, room numbers, design schemes and visual cues – anything that helps people identify where they are and gets them to where they want to go. Children’s has been preparing for wayfinding changes for more than two years.

We’ve replaced our six-zone wayfinding system, which consisted of zones like Giraffe, Whale and Train, with four Pacific Northwest-themed zones – Forest, River, Mountain and Ocean. The Forest zone exclusively includes the new Building Hope location and will be accessible in April, while the other zones encompass the space currently in use.

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Flu outbreak spreads to Washington state; what parents can do

Flu cases in Washington state are already at higher-than-average levels, and experts say we have yet to hit the flu season’s peak. In the last few weeks, health officials have reported a spike in influenza activity. Seattle Children’s is seeing an increase in emergency department visits for flu symptoms. In the past week, 62 infants, kids and teens tested positive Flu vaccine kidfor flu, which is three times more than the number of cases seen in the first week of December.

Across the United States, 47 states are reporting widespread influenza activity, and at least 18 children have died from the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington state, at least six people have died, including a 12-year-old boy.

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Researcher explores clues to birth defects on international scale

Research in South America on a rare ear defect could help pinpoint risk factors for some of the most common birth defects in the United States.

Some 120,000 babies in the United States are born each year with birth defects, according to the March of Dimes. The most common birth defects are heart defects, cleft lip and cleft palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida.

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Building Hope, Part 2: Early Look at the New Emergency Department

Seattle Children’s Emergency Department (ED) is an extremely busy place. In 2012, our ED team saw over 36,000 patients. Visits have increased 30 percent since 2003. We exceed recommended capacity every day during our busy season, from November to March.

ED Lobby: The new ED has more space and additional treatment rooms to reduce wait times and shorten lengths of stay.

ED Lobby: The new ED has more space and additional treatment rooms to reduce wait times and shorten lengths of stay.

To handle current volumes, the team cares for emergency patients in three distinct and physically separate spaces – an often inconvenient and inefficient situation for families and staff.

However, on April 23, our ED will move into its new home in Children’s Building Hope expansion. The new ED increases capacity, expands the size of patient rooms, provides adjacent radiologic access and enhances staff visibility and communication. It also improves the way patients and families flow through the space and how caregivers respond to their needs.

“Our current Emergency Department wasn’t built to accommodate the number of patients we’re seeing today,” said Tony Woodward, MD, MBA, chief of emergency services at Seattle Children’s. “A larger facility with more treatment rooms and improved clinical workflow will reduce wait times and make a trip to the ED a far less stressful experience for patients and their families.” Read full post »

Research inspired by a pet rat provides clues on causes of ear malformations in kids

Eric Turner, MD, PhD, of the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute has his sister and her pet rat to thank for his most recently-published study which identified a new kind of gene mutation which causes ear malformations in rats and mice. Findings from the study are expected to help researchers identify the gene mutations which cause these types of malformations in humans.

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