Kendall Stark was born with giant omphalocele, a condition where her liver protruded from her body. Now at 14 years old, she is a champion gymnast.
At 14 years old, Kendall Stark’s athleticism shines through her gymnastics medals and trophies that sit proudly on her shelf.
Glancing at this display, it might be hard to believe that the same young girl, who can bend, flip and dismount off the uneven bars eight feet from the ground, was born with a condition where her liver protruded from her body.
Kendall’s mother, Kyra Stark, was just 24 weeks pregnant when she was told by a doctor in her hometown of Billings, Montana, that her baby would be born with a condition called giant omphalocele.
Omphalocele is a type of abdominal wall defect where the intestines or other organs grow outside of the baby’s body and is covered by the layers of the umbilical cord, which forms a sac around them. It can vary in size and babies born with giant omphalocele face the risk of lung disease caused by organs squeezing against the lungs.
Harper Foy was diagnosed with an extremely rare skin condition at birth.
Every routine pregnancy check up had gone well. Angie Foy’s baby had a strong heartbeat, 10 fingers, 10 toes and a cute button nose. There was never any indication something was wrong. So, when the day finally arrived almost a year ago, and Foy started feeling contractions, she and her husband rushed to the hospital feeling excited.
Unfortunately, their excitement soon turned into something else: disbelief.
“We were thrown into a whirlwind,” said Angie Foy.
“I’ll forever remember that moment,” said Foy’s husband, Kevin Foy. “Everything was normal. The doctor told me to get my camera out and take a picture. And then everything just became quiet.”
Ever wonder what it’s like to walk in the ‘shoes’, or rather the ‘paw prints’, of a furry friend? In honor of National Dog Day, On the Pulse is featuring one of the incredible canine and human companion pairs that bring joy and comfort to the hospital each week through Seattle Children’s Visiting Dog Program.
Hank, the 5-year-old, 78-pound Old English sheepdog, may seem like an unlikely visitor strolling through the colorful halls of Seattle Children’s, but he’s there for one important reason — to put as many smiles on the faces of young patients as possible.
The shaggy canine with a slow strut makes his rounds visiting patients in different units of the hospital every other Thursday of the month alongside his trusty human companion, Tom Whalen.
During their visits, the “Tom Hanks” duo carry a celebrity-like status, frequently being stopped in the hallways by patients, parents and staff for a quick pet on the head or simple greeting.
From his calm demeanor, soulful stare and wag of the tail each time he encounters someone, it’s clear that Hank, a registered therapy dog who has been visiting the hospital for two years, is skilled in comforting those that he meets.
Nina was at Seattle Children’s selling her art to raise money for the hospital when a chance encounter reunited her with Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen, the doctor who performed her life-saving operation.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen and his former patient Nina Jubran share two important skills: As a surgeon and an artist, they both have great attention to detail and hands that are used to doing very delicate work. They also have another profound connection: Ellenbogen saved Nina’s life 12 years ago today when she came in for neurosurgery to remove a dangerous brain tumor.
Nina, 22, is an artist and a student at the University of Washington studying sociology. In her spare time, she makes and sells delicate clay figurines like miniature scenes of penguins fishing, ornate bouquets and families of teddy bears. To thank Ellenbogen for saving her life, Nina made him clay figurines 12 years ago of a teddy bear and puppies that still sit on his desk.
Recently, Nina was at Seattle Children’s selling her figurines to raise money for the hospital when a chance encounter reunited her with the doctor who performed her life-saving operation. Ellenbogen was having a busy day with surgeries, and he went out for a quick cup of coffee before heading into his next operation.
“When I saw Nina, my heart skipped a beat,” Ellenbogen said. “It made my day to run into a former patient. I am so proud that she is out there being successful and doing what she loves. That is what drives me as a doctor.” Read full post »
When 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 »
Surgery 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.”
This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing stories about mothers who have found hope through difficult diagnosis and became advocates for other parents and families.
Kristen Moriarty of Missoula, Mont., was 22 weeks into her pregnancy with her daughter, Onora, when a routine visit to their OB-GYN turned into shock and concern. Onora was diagnosed with omphalocele, a rare condition in which the intestines or other organs grow outside of the baby’s body and the umbilical cord forms a sac around them.
Moriarty and her husband had a big decision to make – where would they go to receive care for their little girl? Montana wasn’t an option, so they packed up all their belongings and moved. Read full post »
Kara Strozyk was expecting a normal ultrasound at a routine prenatal appointment with her OB-GYN in Olympia, Wash., 19 weeks into her pregnancy. What should have been one of the best days of her life, quickly turned into one of her worst. “How does he look?” Strozyk asked the ultrasound technician.
The ultrasound image revealed the unthinkable, an abnormality with the baby’s stomach, small and large intestine, spleen and liver; they appeared to be in his chest. Strozyk was in disbelief. Her baby was prenatally diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a hole in his diaphragm, a potentially life-threatening condition.
The advice she received only added more fear to the diagnosis: “Stay off the internet.” Read full post »
They say that life is all about the little things, and for the Otolaryngology care team at Seattle Children’s Hospital, this statement holds true more often than not. Each year more than 150 children find their way to the Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology clinic to have some kind of household object, or “foreign body,” removed from their ear, nose or throat.
These objects, while sometimes but not always small, and ranging from coins to button batteries, have become part of a unique collection that hangs in Dr. Kathleen Sie’s office. It’s a collection that she hopes will raise awareness for parents and caregivers about the prevalence of many dangerous household items that often hide in plain sight.
Seattle Children’s provides healthcare for the special needs of children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex (gender), sexual orientation or disability. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.