18-month-old Casey Lang defied incredible odds after an aggressive infection threatened his life.
Sara Chenault and her husband, Ed Lang, held their 15-month-old baby, Casey Lang, tightly as they sat outside the hospital on a warm sunny day in July. Casey giggled as he watched the wild rabbits hop through the grass. His eyes lit up and he squealed as he reached for the basketball his dad gently rolled toward him. Casey couldn’t seem happier, but his parents were beside themselves – they were saying goodbye to their baby boy.
“His situation was dire and we didn’t want Casey’s last few hours spent in a hospital room,” said Sara as she tearfully recalls that heartbreaking afternoon. “We wanted our last few hours together to be meaningful so we took Casey outside to let him just enjoy being a little boy.”
Casey and his family had already endured a rollercoaster experience throughout an unexpected 5-week hospital stay. They thought they were nearing the end of their time at the hospital and that Casey may finally be out of the woods. However, that morning everything changed. It became clear the worst was yet to come. Read full post »
The 2017 Family Choice Award recipients (clockwise): Dr. Jimmy Beck, Dr. Nina Natarajan, Dr. Tim Savage and Alicia Sevilla.
When families feel like their child’s care team is putting them first, they remember it.
At least that’s the case for more than 250 people who submitted nominations for Seattle Children’s 2017 Family Choice Awards. Each nomination came with a heart-touching story about a special staff or faculty member whose commitment to family-centered care sustained a family in the most difficult of circumstances.
The nominees were narrowed down to three winners by the Family Advisory Council, and Seattle Children’s pediatric residents also selected one of their peers for the Family Centered Care Award.
Read on to learn how this year’s award recipients – Dr. Jimmy Beck, Dr. Nina Natarajan, Alicia Sevilla and Dr. Tim Savage – make a difference in patient’s lives every day. Read full post »
Dr. Todd Cooper leads Seattle Children’s High-Risk Leukemia Program.
Seattle Children’s is getting set to launch a program that will redefine how we care for children with “high-risk” leukemia – or leukemia that doesn’t respond well to standard treatments and/or has relapsed after therapy.
Unfortunately, less than 40% of children with high-risk leukemia will live for more than four years after they’re diagnosed. Our new High-Risk Leukemia Program aims to cure more of these children by uniting their doctors onto one team, and by using state-of-the-art diagnostic tests to match kids with the latest treatments and clinical trials. The program will also partner with researchers to pursue new treatments and cures.
The first-of-its-kind program is expected to attract patients and families from across the country, and it’s being led by Dr. Todd Cooper as part of his lifelong mission to improve care for children with high-risk leukemia. On the Pulse sat down with Cooper to learn about how the new program will transform care and bring new hope to children and families. Read full post »
Atticus Gwilliam was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August 2016.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. But What does ‘awareness’ really mean?
To become aware? To obtain new knowledge? To gain a new perspective? To become informed? To become concerned or even empathetic to an unfamiliar situation?
The concept of awareness can take on many faces, and its perception can change depending on the person you talk to. To the mother who spends her days at a children’s hospital, it’s a sense of defeat and desperation about the path that life has taken her. To the father who lost his son, a harrowing and solemn reminder of a fierce battle once fought. To the general social media patron, it may be a month of raw images that they don’t fully understand.
This was the crossroad we found ourselves in as we entered the doors at Seattle Children’s Hospital 12 long months ago. The world of childhood cancer was not something that was on my radar as a mother of three (with one on the way), let alone with regards to one of my own children. Read full post »
Dr. Kaalan Johnson leads his team through a surgical simulation
Erin McCloskey, 11, has been a regular at Seattle Children’s her entire life. First diagnosed with a rare heart defect, a genetic specialist at Seattle Children’s later discovered she had fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). FOP is a complex condition that turns tissue, ligaments and tendons into bone that is outside the typical skeletal structure. Eventually, a person’s joints lose their mobility and it can cause breathing, movement and eating difficulties.
In August, Erin’s mother, Suzanne, sat with her in her hospital room as she did almost every minute of every day since April. Erin’s bed was stacked with stuffed animals and cards sent from members of the online FOP community who showered her and her family with support.
Read full post »
Liesel Von Imhof, 18, doing one of her favorite activities – cross-country skiing.
Liesel Von Imhof, 18, came to Seattle Children’s from her home in Anchorage after learning the reason for her migraines: a ping-pong ball–sized tumor in the middle of her brain. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here she shares her journey of diligently working to achieve her goals despite recovering from brain tumor surgery during her senior year of high school.
How long does it take to recover from brain surgery? What does “recovery” really mean? Would I be the same as before, or to what degree would I be different? These were the many questions swirling around in my mind on July 12, 2016, when I sat next to my pale-faced mother in the hospital as we learned I had a brain tumor. I was diagnosed with a Pilocytic Astrocytoma tumor in the third ventricle of my brain.
With this diagnosis, I was soon on a journey of self-discovery to learn just how much grit and determination I really had. Whether I liked it or not, I was going to have to go through two brain surgeries. My life depended on it.
I gripped the thin hospital bed and prepared myself for the ride. Read full post »
Nursing students (left to right) Collette Flinkfelt, Julie Rodriguez, Sandra Sanchez, Stephanie Jimenez and Josephina Salazar were part of a pilot to provide hands-on pediatric nursing experience.
A lot can happen in a month. A patient can beat their illness.
A crawling baby can take their first steps. And a nursing student can learn skills that will save lives.
The latter is certainly happening with students from Heritage University, who have visited Seattle Children’s in two waves this summer.
The university, which is located on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Toppenish, Washington, partnered with Seattle Children’s for the first time.
“It’s different here than anyplace else we’ve been,” said Claudia Padilla, one of four students who came for training in June. “The support from nurses was amazing; I felt trusted to take full care of patients and encouraged to try new things.” Read full post »
In honor of National Dog Day, On the Pulse is recognizing a special four-legged volunteer who has provided comfort to patients at Seattle Children’s every week for more than 11 years.
If Abe had the ability to talk, he would likely share powerful stories about the thousands of kids he has met throughout his 11-year career as a registered therapy dog.
The road to becoming a therapy dog isn’t easy for most loyal companions, but for Abe, it was his calling.
“I always said he was born to be a therapy dog,” said Judith Bonifaci, Abe’s owner and trusty handler. “From the moment I met him, I could tell he was an old soul who had a special purpose in life.”
Read full post »
Ryker Ringstad on his first day of preschool
Someone forgot to tell Ryker Ringstad that he was a patient at Seattle Children’s, not a fundraiser.
A happy, gregarious kiddo with blonde hair and a playful spirit, Ryker bounces around his room at the hospital. He climbs on his dad, Paul, and mother, Sarah. Watching him move, you’d never guess that he just underwent his 14th procedure for the lymphatic anomalies in his tongue and neck. Wearing a Seahawks t-shirt, I ask him who his favorite player is and without missing a beat, he answers “Russell Wilson!”
Ryker hasn’t had an easy path, but as his mother says, “he is one strong, resilient little man.”
Read full post »
Dr. Joseph Flynn served as the co-chair of the national committee responsible for developing the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new guidelines on high blood pressure.
Parents may notice a renewed focus on screening for hypertension at their child’s next well-child checkup thanks to new guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
While hypertension, or high blood pressure, is common in adults, many people are unaware that approximately 3.5% of all children and adolescents also have the condition. If left untreated, over time hypertension can damage many organs of the body, including the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
“The goal is to ensure every child receives annual screening for high blood pressure starting at age 3,” said Dr. Joseph Flynn, an expert in treating children with hypertension at Seattle Children’s and co-chair of the national committee responsible for developing the new guidelines. “Evidence shows pediatricians aren’t routinely measuring blood pressure in younger children, or may not recognize when a child’s blood pressure is high, causing high blood pressure to go undetected and untreated.” Read full post »