Patient Care

All Articles in the Category ‘Patient Care’

Two kids, two heart defects – One family’s journey

For the Millers of Silverdale, Wash., Valentine’s Day is extra special this year. For the first time in five years, their calendar is free of surgeries and hospital stays for siblings Tessa and Gabriel, who were both born with heart defects.

A complicated, changing diagnosis

The Millers’ complicated journey began in 2008, before Tessa was even born. Ariana and Chris learned that she had Down Syndrome and an atrioventricular septal defect (also known as an AV canal defect). The defect occurs when the heart doesn’t form properly before birth, leaving a hole in the middle of the upper and lower chambers.

Tessa 7.14.12

Even while she was still pregnant, Ariana began seeing Seattle Children’s Heart Center team. Soon after Tessa’s birth, she met Terry Chun, MD, who has cared for Tessa since she was just a few days old.

“This family has been incredibly resilient,” Chun says. “Even before Tessa was born they’d gotten the news that she had heart disease, but then after she was born, it turned out that she had more complicated heart disease than was initially thought.”

Most babies with Tessa’s defect will need just one surgery when they’re between four and six months old. Instead, she has had five surgeries in less than four years – the first when she was just five months old.

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Children’s helps state catch ‘Bubble Boy’ condition in newborns

Troy Torgerson's lab helped the state prep for SCID newborn screening

As the 2013 to 2015 state budget moves toward approval this year, immunology researchers and clinicians at Seattle Children’s will be following it as closely as many of us followed last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

They will be cheering for one small line item deep inside the document: A provision to ensure every baby born in Washington is screened at birth for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare condition that makes it impossible to fight off infection.

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5 tips for raising heart-healthy kids and teens

For National Heart Month, five Seattle Children’s providers share their tips for helping kids and teens build strong, healthy hearts.

Make a heart-healthy resolution for your family this February:

1. Protect young athletes with pre-sport heart screenings

“We’ve all heard stories in the news – the sudden death of a young, competitive athlete due to undetected cardiovascular disease,” says Jack Salerno, MD, director of electrophysiology and pacing services at Seattle Children’s. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. One minute your seemingly healthy child is on top of the world competing in a sport they love. The next minute their heart suddenly stops.”

Listening to patientSalerno says parents can help protect their young athletes from sudden cardiac arrest by learning about potential “red flags” before their kids begin competing in sports. “It’s important for student athletes and their parents to work hand-in-hand with physicians to detect any potential risks before the sports season begins.”

The American Heart Association recommends that kids and teens be screened against a 12-point checklist that includes a review of the athlete’s personal and family medical history, and a physical exam by a doctor. The medical history review looks for risk factors like chest pain, elevated blood pressure and unexplained fainting, as well as any family history of heart disease. “A positive response to one or more items on the checklist could trigger further testing, including an electrocardiogram,” Salerno says.

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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.

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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 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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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 »

Talking to your teen about HIV

Of the 50,000 people infected with HIV each year, 25 percent are teens or young adults ages 13 to 24, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents need to talk to their teens about how to protect themselves from HIV – even if it’s uncomfortable, says Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s adolescent medicine division.

HIV ribbon

“Teens and young adults are more likely to get a sexually transmitted infection than older adults,” Evans says. “It’s critical that teens have the facts about HIV and how to prevent it.”

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