In this interview, Dr. Hsu talks about her extensive medical career, her vision for the future and what hope, care and cures mean to her. Read on to hear more about her incredible journey and her passion for helping children live the most fulfilling life possible.
Doctors often deal with medical conditions that might be somewhat embarrassing or just difficult for patients to understand. Inflammatory bowel disease, a serious and debilitating condition that, as the name implies, affects the intestines and everything that comes out of them, is one of those ailments.
Medical providers who treat and investigate IBD have to find ways to explain their patients’ situation during medical appointments that may last less than 30 minutes—all while the patient and their caregivers might be overcome with emotion or concern. Too often what the doctors tell them is lost or only partially retained.
Dr. David Suskind, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, realized that the caregivers of the children he treats can read pamphlets or educational books about the disease, but he didn’t have anything specific for the kids that explained their condition.
Abby Spaulding, 15, was only 2 years old when she was diagnosed with celiac disease.
As a baby, she had a very sensitive stomach and would throw up frequently.
Abby’s mother brought her to the doctor concerned it was something more than just a simple upset stomach. Her intuition was right. Abby was diagnosed with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage in the small intestine. People with celiac disease respond differently to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
“It didn’t really come as a big shock to my mom,” Abby said. “My uncle had celiac disease, so we knew it ran in the family.”
Back in San Diego, where Abby spent her early childhood, she would go to support groups with her mother to help navigate a new lifestyle that required Abby to eat gluten-free foods only.
“Since I was so young when I was diagnosed, it was a very confusing situation for me,” Abby said. “When we’d go to the store and my mom wouldn’t allow me to pick certain foods, I didn’t understand what was going on. Joining the support groups really helped me better understand what celiac disease was and how I could cope with it.” Read full post »
The numerous merit badges adorning 17-year-old Andrew Peterson’s olive green Boy Scout sash not only signify his accomplishments, but illustrate how far he has come.
Andrew’s journey of overcoming a difficult illness that left him in and out of the hospital during most of his early childhood years, led him to recently receiving the highest achievement in Scouting, attained by only about 2% of all scouts.
“Becoming an Eagle Scout has allowed me to reflect on how much I’ve gone through to get to this point,” Andrew said. “I’m grateful for all of the support I’ve received from various people over the years.”
Among Andrew’s friends and family that were present as he received his Eagle Scout medal during a special ceremony in April, were two guests who witnessed firsthand the transformation Andrew made from being a sick and fragile boy to the confident young man that stood before them.
Janessa Felt watched helplessly as her 2-year-old daughter’s sunny disposition began to fade away. Charlotte’s bright smile and infectious laugh usually hid her struggle well, but that façade was cracking. Charlotte was getting sicker, which was evident by her yellow skin, the silver highlights in her hair and her large distended belly. Her piercing blue eyes were sadder than usual. She laid cradled and uncomfortable in her mother’s arms as fluid built up in her abdomen. Her liver was failing her.
Charlotte was admitted to Seattle Children’s a week earlier. Hospital stays weren’t abnormal for them, but this time was different.
“It is hard to watch your baby be so sick, hooked up to so many machines, and not be able to do anything,” Janessa said. “As a mother, you want to be able to take that pain away.”
Janessa didn’t know how much longer Charlotte would be able to wait for a miracle. She had been on the waitlist for a new liver for year already.
“It wasn’t scary until recently,” Janessa said. “Now, it’s clear she needs a new liver. We just want her to start feeling better. It’s heartbreaking to watch her go through this.” Read full post »
Creativity is at the center of 11-year-old Carson Bryant’s life.
“I would describe her as being imaginative,” her mother, Andrea Bryant, said. “She has a love for theater and dreams of being an illustrator someday.”
In January 2018, Carson had to put her creative passions aside when she began experiencing symptoms that sparked concern for her mother.
“I noticed Carson was making frequent trips to the bathroom,” she said. “I became even more worried when there was blood in her stool.”
Hudson Hill was born with biliary atresia, a liver condition that affects a baby’s bile ducts. At only 2 months old, Jordan Hill’s beautiful blue-eyed baby with long brown locks was in dire need of a new liver. His only hope was a donor. Below, Jordan explains the hopelessness she felt after her son was diagnosed and why she now advocates for organ donation.
At 6 weeks old, my son, Hudson, was diagnosed with a rare liver disease. As parents, you do everything in your power to protect your children. Despite our efforts and optimism, we couldn’t protect Hudson from his failing liver. We faced a truth that no parent should: without a new liver, our son wasn’t going to survive and there was nothing we could do about it. At 12 weeks old, Hudson was officially placed on the national organ waiting list. As I reflect on how I felt that first year, I always come back to the same word: helpless. Read full post »
For many parents, caring for a child with a serious medical condition can have its challenges.
For Hailee and Ray Hughes, the challenge of caring for their 3-year-old daughter, Ruth, who has a rare gastrointestinal disorder, meant learning complicated skills like how to maintain Ruth’s nutritional needs intravenously through a tube connected to her chest.
“It definitely wasn’t easy at first,” said Hughes. “There was a lot to learn and we wanted to safely care for our daughter in the best way we could.”
Learning the proper techniques involved in Ruth’s care was one thing, but doing it with partial to no vision was another.
Amani Jackson and her identical twin sister, Amira, possess a rare bond that began in their mother’s womb.
Up until the moment they were born, grasping on to one another, their bond remained unbroken.
It wasn’t until surgeons noticed one of them wasn’t quite like the other, that they needed to part ways.
“Although they were both premature, Amira came out healthy as can be,” said their mother, Stranje Pittman. “However, as soon as the doctor saw Amani, they knew something was wrong. Before I knew it, she was rushed out of the operating room and immediately taken to Seattle Children’s.”
In honor of National Dog Day, On the Pulse is recognizing three unique four-legged visitors who bring joy to kids at Seattle Children’s.
When a child is in need of some cheering up during a hospital stay, Seattle Children’s knows just the right MVP for the task – Most Valuable Pup that is. With their wiggling tails, wet noses and oozing charm, each of the nine volunteer therapy dogs in Seattle Children’s Animal-Assisted Activities Program harnesses their unique strengths and abilities to bring a smile to every patient they meet.