On the Pulse

Dad’s gift to his daughter – Evelyn’s transplant story

Evelyn Sherman had a kidney transplant this past Halloween, just 10 days before she turned three years old. Her dad, Keith, was her donor. In honor of Donate Life Month, Evelyn’s mom, Julianne, reflects on their journey as they near the six-month anniversary of the transplant.

Getting the diagnosis

Evelyn was nine months old when she started falling off the chart. I thought my milk supply had dropped off so we were just sort of waiting it out, but she was still falling off the curve. Then we tried to beef up her diet and that wasn’t working.

Evelyn_dialysis By the time we got the diagnosis when she was 15 months old, we had made a tour of Children’s. She had some other physical manifestations of something being wrong. She had a sixth toe. She had wine stains on her skin. So we’d been to orthopedics to have her toe removed. And we’d been to dermatology. We felt like we were ending our tour when we got to nephrology. It was our last stop.

Evelyn was diagnosed with renal dysplasia, meaning that the kidney developed incorrectly in the beginning. She also has kidney reflux and that means that the urine is going back up into the kidneys from the bladder. It often causes a kidney infection, but for whatever reason, she didn’t really manifest that.

When the doctor delivered the news that there was something wrong with her kidney, I remember thinking, “I feel like you’re saying something really important to me and it’s just not registering because you have got to be talking about somebody else.” I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying, that I had a critically ill child.

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Think Positive: Approach helps prevent depression in kids

Middle school student, parent

The power of positive thinking is not a new concept, but researchers now say it can be an effective tool to prevent depression in middle school students. In a randomized clinical trial with 120 young people ages 11 to 15 years old, those who received group intervention with a focus on the positive showed greater decreases in depressive symptoms, compared with those who received individual support.

The study, “A Randomized Trial of the Positive Thoughts and Action Program for Depression among Early Adolescents,” was published April 5 in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

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A pledge to help end child abuse – One mother’s story

Positive Parenting PledgeBeing a parent is a full-time job, one that requires being on call 24/7 and dealing with new challenges every day. At times, it can be exhausting and frustrating. And in some tragic cases, that frustration can lead to child abuse and neglect.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parental feelings of isolation, stress and frustration are major causes of child abuse and mistreatment in the U.S. That’s why Seattle Children’s Hospital is asking parents, caregivers, and the community to make “Positive Parenting Pledges” in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

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Diagnosing Kawasaki disease: “Grey’s Anatomy” mirrors real-life

Sarah Chalke, actressA story every mother needs to see, inspired by real-life events. This promotion for an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” may sound dramatic, but when your child is ill and a diagnosis doesn’t happen promptly, the situation is not without drama.

Sarah Chalke, a television star who appeared on “Roseanne” and “Scrubs,” is a guest star on tonight’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” with a storyline that mirrors what happened to her family.

Two years ago, Chalke’s son, Charlie, came down with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition with potentially serious effects. She has spoken publicly about the difficulty of getting Charlie diagnosed and the urgency of getting the appropriate treatment. There is a narrow window—a mere 10 days after the initial symptoms appear—for the intravenous treatment to be effective.

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Building Hope, Part 4: A closer look at the new Critical Care Unit

Porch

Life-threatening illness or injury can strike any child at any time. Seattle Children’s Hospital’s critical care medicine teams have the expertise and technology to treat the most fragile patients in the region, including those born prematurely, recovering from complex surgeries, or suffering from acute illness, chronic disease or injuries.

On April 21 the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) will move to the Building Hope expansion. With a new home comes more space and new features that will help patients and families feel more comfortable while they are at Children’s.

“There are so many great new features in the critical care unit at Building Hope,” says Cathie Rea, ICU director. “We know our staff, patients and their families will find the new space a wonderful atmosphere of healing.”

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Vilifying Food – How fad diets are affecting our children’s health

Young girl and cupcake

Fad diets have taken the U.S. by storm: Paleo, Mediterranean, the “Fast Diet” – even Gwyneth Paltrow has a new cookbook.  Just as quickly as one diet is “out,” another diet emerges to take its place. With so many options, celebrity endorsements and websites full of misinformation, how can parents know which diets are safe – especially for kids?

Celia Framson, MPH, RD, CD, and Mary Jones Verbovski, MS, RD, CD, clinical pediatric dietitians at Seattle Children’s Hospital encourage parents to keep kids in mind when evaluating a potential diet.

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Spring sports safety – 10 tips for staying in the game

Soccer girlsIt’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung, and with it comes the start of spring sports: baseball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer and track and field. Time for kids to dust off baseball gloves, clean off their cleats, dig out that tennis racket and get outside! But before they hit the pitch, field or track, the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team at Seattle Children’s Hospital has a few tips to keep kids in the game and injury-free.

Unfortunately, injuries are inevitable, but there are preventive measures kids can take to reduce the risk of being permanently sidelined. Children’s doctors and athletic trainers remind kids to know their body and their limits.

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The Steubenville rape case – How to talk to your teen about sexual assault

Teen girl talking As coverage of the Steubenville rape case and trial continues, parents may worry about their own teens. Are they safe? How can they best protect themselves from sexual assault? It’s a topic  parents should be prepared to talk about with their teens – both girls and boys, says Jen Brown, a nurse with Seattle Children’s adolescent medicine team. In a 7-part series on Children’s Teenology 101 blog, Brown offers straightforward, practical reminders for teens and their parents, and suggests ways to start the conversation and to keep it going. She also addresses special situations and issues, such as developmentally delayed teens and sexual assault within relationships. Read full post »

Using the web to track spread of drug-resistant bacteria

CRE bacteria

Until Tom Frieden, MD and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, held a news conference earlier this month to talk about the increase of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, it was pretty likely that not many people had heard the term before.

CRE are deadly bacteria, even stronger than MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and are resistant to nearly all of the antibiotics that exist today. CRE can cause a variety of infections ranging from gastrointestinal illness to pneumonia to invasive infections of the bloodstream or other body organs.

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Talking to teens about weight: Teaching balance

NutritionBlog2PhotoBeing a teenager in today’s society is not easy. Faced with peer pressure and unrealistic expectations perpetuated through TV and magazines, teens are forced to deal with complex, uncomfortable situations daily, including a subject many would rather not discuss: weight.

“Looking at national data sources, like the CDC, that are sampling large portions of people in the U.S., we’re seeing more and more individuals in the obese or morbidly obese category,” says Yolanda N. Evans, MD, with the adolescent medicine division of Seattle Children’s Hospital.  “It’s a really important issue to talk about because more and more kids are being affected.”

However, Evans says the way we talk about the obesity epidemic could be making things worse – especially for teens.

The other side of our obsession with weight

Evans says the media’s focus on weight and people’s bodies has increased the risk for restrictive eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Rather than focusing on healthy behaviors, our society too often promotes a “thin is better” mindset. Evans says it’s a problem that needs to be addressed and discussed, particularly with children and teens.

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