Authors: Seattle Children’s Executive Leadership Team
We are writing to acknowledge the tragic acts of violence and racism happening across our country.
The senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota leave us sickened and heartbroken. While we share our grief with these families and their communities, we must also acknowledge with sorrow our region’s own history of racially motivated violence, discrimination, and marginalization.
These recent events are set against the backdrop and acute pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color in the United States. Added to the burden of this crisis are the magnifying health and economic disparities, which are due to systemic racism and social injustices that have existed for far too long across generations.
These are the moments we cannot be silent—and Seattle Children’s will speak out, oppose racism, and advance our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. We are all affected negatively when one part of our community is burdened by racism and violence, and we are all part of the solution.
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Authors: Scott Hampton, MAT
The teachers at Seattle Children’s are experts at supporting kids and their families when children and teens are suddenly out of school. Scott Hampton, manager of K-12 Education Services, shares advice to support families in the community as they adjust to a new way of life while schools are closed.
Our world is facing an extraordinary challenge right now. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, it has disrupted and influenced all aspects of life. For families with school-aged children, a primary concern in these disruptions has been the closure of schools across our region and around the world. Read full post »
Authors: Lindsay Kurs
At Seattle Children’s Research Institute, scientists are genetically-engineering zebrafish to harbor human DNA mutations known to contribute congenital conditions in children.
More than five years ago, when Dr. Lisa Maves, a scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, first started using CRISPR to make genetic alterations in zebrafish, she saw the potential for the minnow-sized fish to help doctors understand how genetic mutations contribute to a child’s condition.
“Essentially, we set out to make a patient’s fish,” Maves said. “The zebrafish has a genome that is remarkably similar to humans. As new gene editing technology was just becoming available, I wondered whether we could use this technology to create a fish that mimicked the complex genetic conditions we see in children.”
Maves hypothesized that genetically engineering the fish in this manner would help uncover how different genes affect development and cause disease. Read full post »
Authors: Rose Ibarra (Egge)
Rapid exome sequencing (rES), a blood test that can quickly detect genetic abnormalities, is helping obtain timely genetic diagnoses for critically ill children at Seattle Children’s.
A newborn boy was admitted to Seattle Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) earlier this year with arthrogryposis — a condition where an infant cannot move, their joints becoming frozen in place. When geneticist Dr. Jimmy Bennett met the infant, he was on a respirator and could only move his eyes.
“We didn’t know the cause of the arthrogryposis and could not tell the parents much about their son’s prognosis — whether he would ever come off the ventilator or if he would be intellectually disabled,” Bennett said. “With so little information, it was difficult to decide how to proceed.”
This family had a previous pregnancy that was similarly affected. Bennett believed the cause might be genetic and recommended rapid exome sequencing (rES) — a blood test that can quickly detect genetic abnormalities.
Less than a week later, the test identified a specific condition that led providers to administer an appropriate therapy. Before long, the child was moving.
“Never in a million years would we have tried this therapy without the genetic test results,” Bennett said. “Two weeks later, the patient was off the ventilator and moving all four limbs. It was like a miracle.” Read full post »
Authors: Kathryn Mueller
At 4 months old, Raegen was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome.
Early on in Raegen Allard’s life, her mother, Francisca Allard, noticed something wasn’t quite right with her beautiful daughter. Raegen would seem upset after she ate and her stomach was enlarged. She also had a bruise around her belly button, which worried Allard further. At 4 months old, Allard took her daughter to the emergency room closest to their home in Snohomish. They told Allard she needed to be taken immediately to Seattle Children’s Emergency Department. When they arrived they received unexpected news: they weren’t going home. Raegan was admitted to Seattle Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Raegen was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a kidney condition that begins in infancy and typically leads to irreversible kidney failure (end-stage renal disease) by early childhood.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Allard. “It was like I was watching life unfold in front of me and I had no control. All I could do was hold her hand. It was a whirlwind.” Read full post »
Authors: Heather Cooper
As friends and families gather together to observe winter holidays, many follow traditions as part of their celebrations. There are typical traditions, like lighting a menorah each night of Hanukkah, decorating a tree for Christmas, or making resolutions for the New Year. Some families have more unusual traditions, like having a dress-up theme for Christmas Eve or throwing a BBQ for winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Some traditions instill faith, but whether faith-based or not, practicing tradition is a way to teach values, build relationships, foster a sense of belonging and create positive memories. These are all things that make a strong positive impact on the life of children.
On The Pulse asked Seattle Children’s Dr. Mollie Grow, pediatrician, and Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine, to share their top winter holiday traditions. Read full post »
Authors: Kathryn Mueller
Finding out your child will be born with a cleft lip and palate can be unexpected and distressing for many families. Plagued with questions, parents may wonder if their child will be able to thrive, have speech issues, or what their smile will look like. Dr. Craig Birgfeld, a craniofacial plastic surgeon at Seattle Children’s, enjoys being able to ease a family’s anxiety. At Seattle Children’s, he knows these families are in good hands.
“When patients come to see us they become part of our family,” said Birgfeld. “To me, the best part of our job is seeing these kids grow up and be completely normal kids. It’s hard to remember them as a baby with a cleft. That’s the true test, and one of the reasons we do what we do.” Read full post »
Authors: Kathryn Mueller
Ben, 19 months old, shows off his Stormtrooper prosthesis.
With every step 19-month-old Benajmin (Ben) Bronske takes, a legion of Stormtroopers lead his way.
Born into a family of avid Star Wars fans, Ben has become a fan as well. With an infectious smile, while wearing a shirt that says, “I’m a Trooper,” Ben proudly shows off his leg. It was uniquely made just for him – it’s covered in Stormtroopers.
“He’s got a really cool leg and a story to go with it,” said Sarah Bronske, Ben’s mother. Read full post »
Authors: Evan Koch
Hudson received a portion of his uncle’s liver in July as part of a living donor liver transplant.
Jordan and Morgan Hill carry with them everywhere a custom-made coin inspired by their son’s liver transplant and the man who saved his life.
Morgan had the coin made weeks before his older brother, United States Army Special Operations Command Lt. Col. Trevor Hill, flew to Seattle from his home in North Carolina to donate part of his liver to his 8 ½-month-old nephew, Hudson.
“My brother saved our son’s life,” Morgan said. “Trevor has had what is called a challenge coin throughout his military career. It’s a sign of respect. It’s a symbol of someone’s unit and their life, and I wanted him to have one representing the incredible gift he gave us.” Read full post »
Authors: Evan Koch
Chad’s Legacy Project has been a driving force behind the first-ever Washington State Mental Health Summit. Laura Crooks (right) and her husband, Todd Crooks, started CLP in honor of their son, Chad Crooks (left), who died tragically months after he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
Laura and Todd Crooks have experienced personal devastation from losing a loved one whose mental health issues weren’t properly addressed. Their son Chad took his own life eight months after he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, on Jan. 21, 2016.
The professional help the gifted 21-year-old college student required wasn’t readily available when he needed it most.
The Crooks have since openly shared their family story in an effort to help others. They also started Chad’s Legacy Project (CLP), an endeavor in memoriam, to advance mental health education and innovations in the evaluation and treatment of mental illness.
CLP is realizing its mission, serving as the driving force behind the first-ever Washington State Mental Health Summit, which will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5. A portion of the more than $100,000 CLP has raised is covering the costs of the Summit.
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