Patient Care

All Articles in the Category ‘Patient Care’

Seattle Children’s Takes Cleft Training Program to Africa

The first thing Dr. Michael Cunningham noticed was the crowding. Hundreds of African mothers and their young children, pressed shoulder to shoulder in a time-worn hospital’s hallway, waiting patiently for hours — if not days — to receive cleft lip and palate care for their child. It was then when he fully understood the importance of his goals in Africa and how much work lay ahead.

Cunningham, who is medical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, and the Center’s surgical director Dr. Richard Hopper, had traveled to Africa as part of a specialized cleft training program they co-founded in 2007 now called Partners in African Cleft Training (PACT). Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Leads Nation in Heart Transplant Survival Rates

Julie Kobayashi, 12, traveled from Hawaii to Seattle Children’s for her heart transplant.

Julie Kobayashi, 12, traveled from Hawaii to Seattle Children’s for her heart transplant.

Children who need a heart transplant face a frightening waiting game before a donor heart becomes available. They must live with a failing heart for months, or even years, as clinicians strive to keep them healthy enough for transplant. Nationally, these patients face the highest waiting list mortality in solid-organ transplantation medicine, with 17% of children dying while waiting for a heart transplant.

Thankfully, Seattle Children’s has one of the best waitlist mortality rates among pediatric heart transplant centers, as reported to the United Network of Organ Sharing. The hospital also treats some of the region’s most complex, advanced heart disease and heart transplant cases and has one of the highest 3-year patient survival rates in the country.

“We are proud to be ranked among the best pediatric heart transplant centers in the country,” said Dr. Yuk Law, medical director of the Cardiac Transplant/Heart Failure Service at Seattle Children’s. “We have created a team of skilled experts who have dedicated their careers to treating heart failure and transplant cases.” Read full post »

Canines Comfort Kids at Seattle Children’s

Pet Therapy - Joey web version

Dudzik and Paddy visit with Joey at Seattle Children’s.

At Seattle Children’s Hospital healing comes in all forms. From music therapy to acupuncture, Seattle Children’s offers many services to comfort children while they are inpatient at the hospital. One of those forms even includes a wagging tail, wet snout and big brown eyes.

Christi Dudzik and Paddy, her 5-year-old yellow Labrador, are one of 12 dog teams at Seattle Children’s that provide comfort to patients and families through its animal-assisted activities program. Dudzik, who has been training pet therapy dogs for more than 20 years, says there’s no better place to be than with Paddy walking through the halls of Seattle Children’s. Read full post »

Starting Out Strong

Chief of cardiology Dr. Mark Lewin leads the Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment team at Seattle Children’s. He specializes in fetal diagnosis and the ongoing care of children with congenital heart defects.

Chief of cardiology Dr. Mark Lewin leads the Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment team at Seattle Children’s. He specializes in fetal diagnosis and the ongoing care of children with congenital heart defects.

When pregnant couples discover problems with their babies, Seattle Children’s Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment Program helps them make some of the toughest decisions they’ll ever face.

When an ultrasound revealed a problem with her baby’s heart, Melinda Deitz – then five months pregnant – was referred to Seattle Children’s for a fetal echocardiogram – a test to pinpoint what was wrong.

Deitz could feel the baby moving in her belly as she and her husband, Rich, waited for the results. They hoped everything was OK or that the problem was easy to fix. But when they saw the look on Dr. Mark Lewin’s face they knew it was serious. Read full post »

Dr. Juul Looks Ahead as She Takes the Helm of the Neonatology Division

Dr. Sandra “Sunny” Juul recently became the new Division Chief of Neonatology at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, taking the helm from Dr. Christine Gleason, who stepped down to pursue other professional goals. Below, Juul talks about her vision for her own research and for the Division of Neonatology at Seattle Children’s.

Dr. Sandra "Sunny" Juul

Dr. Sandra “Sunny” Juul, the new Division Chief of Neonatology at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Neonatology is a relatively new field of medical practice, having come into its own in the 1960s. At that time, survival for extremely premature babies and many of those with congenital disorders was low. Through experience and research, infants who were previously destined to die now survive, yet their outcomes are frequently burdened by significant neurodevelopmental challenges.

As a neonatologist, I am honored to participate in the care of precious, fragile individuals ranging from extremely preterm infants to term neonates with complex medical or surgical problems. These small patients and their families humble me with their endurance in the face of great adversity.

I believe that our current mandate as neonatologists is to ensure that survivors of these previously fatal conditions can lead fully functional lives without impairment. In order to accomplish these audacious goals, we have committed, as a division, to improve neonatal outcomes by providing outstanding evidence-based neonatal clinical care, moving our field forward by conducting research, and by educating the next generation of neonatal caregivers. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Aims to Unravel the Mysteries of Kawasaki Disease

Jennifer Bevaart's son William was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease in September, 2014.

Jennifer Bevaart’s son William was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease in September, 2014.

In honor of National Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day, we are sharing the story of William, a 10-year-old boy who lives with the disease, and why Seattle Children’s, an international leader in Kawasaki disease research, is the best place for children like William to receive treatment.

In September, Jennifer Bevaart’s son William developed a fever that lasted for days. He was lethargic, had a rash on his chest and his eyes were bloodshot. Over the next two weeks, Bevaart took William to at least four different specialists, each of whom suggested a different diagnosis: a sinus infection, walking pneumonia, bronchitis, even scarlet fever. Each treatment failed to ease William’s symptoms. He went from an active, tae kwon do enthusiast to a weak boy who was too weak to walk even the short distance to the mailbox without lying down to rest.

“Call it mother’s intuition, but I just knew something was very wrong with my son,” Bevaart said. “I felt like I was watching him die.” Read full post »

The Hunger Games: How a Team at Children’s Uses Hunger to Teach Kids to Eat

Lydia digs in.

Lydia digs in.

Last April, at the age of 12, Lydia Vaughan felt hungry for the first time.

The new sensation – along with support from her family and a team of specialists at Seattle Children’s – helped her learn to do in two weeks what she had never done before: put food in her mouth and swallow it. Read full post »

Electricity, Dishwashers and What Really Matters

Dr. Abby Rosenberg, medical leader of Seattle Children's Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program

Dr. Abby Rosenberg, medical leader of Seattle Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program

This past week, my 10-year-old son was assigned a science experiment to conduct at home: exist for a full hour without electricity. During our family’s allotted hour, some things became incredibly difficult (imagine hand-washing dinner dishes in darkness). But the rest became wonderfully easy. With no way to do routine activities involving smartphones, TVs, computers, or other electronics, we just sat, talked and played board games by candlelight.

My son’s conclusion from this assignment? Without electricity, life is richer. He commented that he appreciated this opportunity to just be present and be together. “It’s different,” he explained. “In a weird way, electricity takes us away from each other. When you remove the electricity, you spend more time doing what’s important to you – what matters. You realize how lucky you are to have each other…and to have electricity the rest of the time.”

This was when my son’s simple assignment suddenly reminded me of what I see in and strive to teach our patients and families everyday. Read full post »

Poke and Press: Patients Benefit From New Acupuncture Program

Jaime Ralston-Wilson (left) and Elizabeth (Liz) Artola

Jaime Ralston-Wilson (left) and Elizabeth (Liz) Artola

When Gailon Wixson Pursley came to Seattle Children’s, she was in so much pain she couldn’t walk. At 19 years old, Gailon was diagnosed with sarcoma, an aggressive cancerous tumor in her hip flexor muscle.

Gailon’s treatment plan included surgery to remove the large tumor, radiation and chemotherapy, along with a long list of medications to help manage the side effects of her diagnosis and treatments.

Gailon’s mom, Yvette Wixson, asked whether another treatment was available for her daughter: acupuncture. To Yvette’s delight, the answer was yes.

Seattle Children’s inpatient acupuncture program began as a six-month pilot in January 2014. During the pilot, acupuncturists were available four hours a day, five days a week. Before the pilot, acupuncture was available to outpatients, but only on a sporadic, ad-hoc basis for inpatients. Read full post »

Pushing Limits, Saving Lives

As we head into the New Year, we’d like to reflect on some of the incredible clinical advancements of 2014 that show how our doctors have gone the extra mile for our patients.

In the Children’s HealthLink Special video above, watch how futuristic medicine has saved the lives of the littlest patients at Seattle Children’s. From 3D-printed heart models to liquid ventilation, doctors and families reveal the amazing benefits of innovative treatments that challenge the status quo. Read full post »