We’re approaching flu season, a time when you hear a lot about the importance of getting a flu shot, and parents get nervous about children catching the flu. Heck, even parents get nervous about being sick.
Speedy testing for the flu can help ease anxiety for parents – it might be just a common cold, after all. And if it’s not, a fast diagnosis means a child receives the right treatment promptly.
Fastest in the Nation
Seattle Children’s laboratory is the fastest in the nation for producing respiratory virus results. It’s a fact that Mike Astion, MD, PhD, medical director of Lab Medicine, is pretty proud of. He and his team have made a lot of progress to reach that goal in recent years.
In October 2010, Heather Landis received a phone call no expectant mother ever wants to receive. At five months pregnant with their second child, the doctor told Heather and her husband Dale that the baby girl they were expecting would be born with a cleft lip and palate, birth defects that occur early in pregnancy. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, the Landis’s began preparing themselves for the difficult road that awaited them. Struggling with her emotions, Heather put what she was feeling into a candid and personal blog detailing the months before and after the birth of her daughter, Danielle.
Her blog detailed Danielle’s trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Hitesh Kapadia initiated the repair process using a nasoalveolar molding (NAM) device – a non-surgical method of reshaping the gums, lips, and nostrils of children with large cleft lips and palates prior to surgery. Following months with the NAM, the craniofacial team lead by Dr. Raymond Tse performed multiple surgeries to correct Danielle’s cleft lip and palate. Danielle is currently doing very well and her cleft lip and palate were successfully repaired by Danielle’s care team. The team’s courageous efforts, collaborative spirit, and amazing success also inspired Dale to apply for a job at Seattle Children’s, where he works today.
The Landis’ story is told in a compelling photo slideshow narrated by Heather, using entries from her months of blog posts and photos taken by the family during their difficult – but ultimately successful – journey.
The influenza virus constantly mutates, changing its shape and structure each and every year to survive. Therefore, in order to effectively be protected against the virus, the composition of the vaccine also changes each year. The newly formulated vaccine then adds to the immunity built up from receiving the shot in previous years.
If we needed additional evidence, Brad Snyder’s story makes it perfectly clear that just because you’re a child with a disability, you don’t have to settle for second place.
An American swimmer on the United States Paralympic team, Snyder graduated from the Naval Academy and went to Afghanistan to serve his country. In September 2011, a roadside bomb exploded in his face and cost him his eyesight. But he still managed to find the finish line first, winning two gold medals in the summer of 2012 at the London Paralympic Games. And, among fully blind swimmers, Snyder is currently the best in the world for the 100-meter and 400-meter freestyle events. His story can be found at NBCNews.com. Read full post »
From the time Logan Ellingsworth was born in June 2007, it was clear he was a fighter. Born prematurely with a variety of health issues from exposure to methamphetamines while in utero, Logan had a difficult journey ahead.
Brenda and Randy Ellingsworth, Logan’s grandmother and grandfather who adopted him after he was born, remember the first time they saw him in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
“Out of all the babies in the room, I was surprised to see that one was actually raising his head up as if to see who was coming in,” said Brenda. “I asked the nurse, ‘Who’s this little curious one?’ She said, ‘That is your precious little grandson and he is going to be a fighter.’ I started to cry because at that moment, we knew he was going to have major obstacles to overcome.”
The First Step: Facing Cerebral Palsy
Among the host of medical issues Logan faced, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder of the brain that affects muscle tone and the ability to coordinate body movements. It is caused by an injury to the brain, which can occur when a child is born prematurely.
Physicians and researchers can get any number of awards over the course of a career. Landing a Nobel Prize is the tops, of course. But Bonnie Ramsey, MD, received a different sort of honor this week. She christened a petroleum barge in Portland that bears her name. Dr. Ramsey is quite excited about the honor, even if it doesn’t seem very medically mainstream.
“It’s a unique award,” she said. “It’s not the sort of thing most people get, to have something that huge be named after you,” she said, with a smile. Barges can measure more than 400 feet long, bigger than a football field. A barge of this size carries more than 3.5 million gallons in fuel, too.
This is what 17-year-old Seth Barronian remembers about his last regular day:
He and a friend were long-boarding (riding long-version skateboards) near Tacoma, Wash., a good distance from his home in Normandy Park. Because he loved to feel the wind in his hair, he ditched the helmet his parents insisted he wear. He was cruising downhill at about 20 miles per hour when his board hit a twig or rock and stopped cold. Read full post »
They say that humor can be great medicine and this rings true for 18-year-old Abigale Hamlin, a leukemia patient being treated in Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program. Abigale says that a good dose of laughter in her situation helps her to see and think of things in a different light.
Last year, when she first heard Chris Brown’s song featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, “Look At Me Now,” her witty and creative nature took hold and her inner rapper emerged as she flowed to the beats with her own lyrics that described what she was going through, “Look at me now, look at me now, I’m losin’ hair-air, or I’m gettin’ che-mo.”
“I’m the kind of person who sings a song and puts my own words to it because I think it is funny,” says Abigale. “Then I thought, how funny would it be if I took the lyrics and made this song cool and funny in my own way!” Read full post »
Seattle Children's complies with applicable federal and other civil rights laws and does not discriminate, exclude people or treat them differently based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (ancestry), age, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law. 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.