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 »
The Marvin family
Imagine living every day of your life waiting for your child to have their next seizure. This is often the reality for parents of children with intractable epilepsy – a chronic form of epilepsy that can’t be controlled by medications alone. Every moment is plagued by uncertainty, and the world quickly becomes a place filled with barriers where hope and opportunity used to be.
This scenario is something with which James Marvin and his wife Joana are all too familiar. When their daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with epilepsy after having her first seizure at just 14 months old, this became their family’s world.
“We called it ‘the antagonist,’” said Marvin. “Charlotte would usually have a seizure every couple of days, but any time she was stressed, tired or sick, the antagonist would come out. It was so difficult to live our lives just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and there was no end in sight.”
That was, until five years later when they traveled 3,000 miles from their home in Virginia, to seek treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital that held the promise of ending Charlotte’s seizures, hopefully for good.
Read full post »
Jacob Smith, 16, from Mukilteo, Wash.
Most 16-year-olds wish for a car for their birthday, but not Jacob Smith from Mukilteo, Wash. Jacob‘s wish was for a heart. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long for his wish to come true. He received a call from his doctors on Saturday, June 6, 2015. They had a match! He would receive a heart before he turned 16.
“I couldn’t have ever imagined that this would be our story, but here we are,” said Angela Smith, Jacob’s mom. “It was on a Thursday when Jacob got sick, a Thursday when he had open heart surgery, a Thursday when he was put on the transplant list, and now on Thursday, June 18, he’ll celebrate his birthday with a new heart.” Read full post »
New experiences can be scary for children, and a hospital stay is probably one of the scariest new experiences for any child and their family. When a child or teen is scheduled for an overnight or extended hospital stay, parents can be confronted with not only the needs of their child, but also the anxiety it may create for the entire family.
Social workers can help families with many aspects of a hospital stay, from providing emotional support to more tangible needs like insurance and financial assistance. Ashley Peter, a social worker in Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, has found that many parents come in with similar questions, but are unsure of where to turn to first.
“As social workers, our goal is to make sure families know there is support available for a variety of needs, regardless of their situation,” said Peter. “We realize that being in the hospital is a lot for families to adjust to, which is why we are here to guide them through every step of the way.” Read full post »
Being the mother of a pediatric stroke survivor, I am thrilled that this month marks Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month in Washington state. As a nation, we have supported efforts of increasing awareness of stroke in general, however, pediatric stroke has received little awareness or research to date. Here we share our story in hopes of increasing awareness among the community, advocating for more resources and support for children and their families who have been impacted by stroke, and to provide hope to families starting out on this journey that our children can overcome vast obstacles.
Addison Hyatt survived a pediatric stroke at birth
Contrary to what most people believe, stroke is a potential risk for everyone, including children and teens. Stroke occurs at the highest rate in the first year of life, and is most common between the 28th week of pregnancy up until one month after birth. Approximately one in 1,600 to 4,000 newborns have a stroke each year. For children age 1 to 18, stroke occurs in 11 out of 100,000 kids and teens. I share this information not to create alarm, but rather to spread awareness. Pediatric stroke is often thought of as extremely rare; sadly it is not. I know far too well that it’s real, and we encourage other parents to understand its signs, symptoms and treatment options. Read full post »
In recent years, the diagnosis of abusive head trauma (AHT), historically referred to as shaken baby syndrome, has been the focus of great debate in court rooms and media headlines across the country. The debate has focused on a few key questions: Does AHT really exist? Can shaking really cause brain injury or death in infants?
“Having people believe that abusive head trauma doesn’t exist and that shaking an infant is harmless is a public health danger,” said Dr. Carole Jenny, a child abuse physician in Seattle Children’s Protection Program and at Harborview Medical Center, who has more than 30 years of child protection experience. “Parents and caregivers need to be aware that abusive head trauma as a result of shaking is a real thing that can happen – it does happen – and it has devastating, lifelong or fatal consequences.”
Dr. Christopher Greeley, who is a child abuse expert and associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, said that it comes down to this: “Would you shake your newborn baby?” Read full post »
Seattle Children’s new CEO, Dr. Jeff Sperring
This week, the next chapter of Seattle Children’s journey begins with the arrival of our new CEO, Dr. Jeff Sperring. Even though it’s his first week on the job, he is no stranger to leading a world-class pediatric hospital. Sperring most recently served as president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the U.S. He was at Riley since 2002 and also served as Riley’s chief medical officer, associate chief medical officer and director of pediatric hospital medicine.
Sperring earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was a pediatric resident at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. After residency, he served as a United States Navy Medical Corps officer in Twentynine Palms, Calif., for three years. Read full post »
Thanks to the hospital school, Brighton Smith learned to believe in herself again after cancer robbed her of her confidence. Help us celebrate the teachers who shine the light of learning – and personal growth – into the dark corners of illness. GiveBIG to Seattle Children’s on May 5 (GiveBIG and National Teacher Day). The Seattle Foundation along with a generous anonymous donor will help you stretch your gift by matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000. Your generosity provides concrete resources like laptops and textbooks for the hospital schoolroom.
Brighton Smith, 11, visits with Lisa Schab, the teacher in Seattle Children’s Schoolroom she calls her “hospital mom.”
Brighton Smith didn’t feel well. Several weeks of battling chills and fatigue had left the 11-year-old wanting to sleep all the time. Her mom, Cassia Smith, worried she might have mono or even be depressed. Then a trip to her primary care provider yielded a very scary turn of events: a referral to Seattle Children’s and a diagnosis of leukemia – all in the same day.
Once on the Cancer Care Unit, everything but Brighton’s treatment fell by the wayside; that’s when Lisa Schab, a middle-school teacher from Seattle Children’s School Services, dropped by Brighton’s hospital room. Read full post »
April marks National Donate Life Month, a time devoted to spreading awareness about the tremendous need for increasing the number of organ, eye and tissue donors. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 120,000 people in the U.S. are on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ, and sadly, more than 21 people die each day waiting for a transplant. For some, becoming a donor and the transplantation process can seem daunting, but the impact on a recipient’s life is invaluable.
Seattle Children’s has one of the best and busiest pediatric transplant centers in the nation, working across a six-state region to provide lifesaving organ transplants for patients. Seattle Children’s Transplant Center is one of the few in the world that performs living donor liver transplants, is one of the top five kidney transplant centers in the U.S. and also has some of the best survival outcomes in the nation for pediatric liver, kidney and heart transplants. Read full post »
Kristina Spencer with duffels she has filled for acutely abused children discharged to foster homes.
When Kristina Spencer joined the Seattle Children’s Hospital Protection Program team as its senior administrative assistant last summer, she took on another, unofficial role: director of duffels.
The duffels in question – dozens of brightly colored, kid-sized bags stashed around the Protection Program’s offices – had been purchased with grant money and were phase one of Duffels for Discharge, a project aimed at easing the transition for abused children discharged from Seattle Children’s straight into the foster care system. Read full post »