Patient Stories

All Articles in the Category ‘Patient Stories’

Jesse’s Full-Circle Connection to Seattle Children’s

PART FIVE: From witnessing exceptional care and compassion given to children in their own lives, to receiving treatment first-hand, this weekly series features Seattle Children’s employees and the life experiences that drove them to pursue careers in healthcare.

Jesse Giordano was a pediatric patient at Seattle Children’s three decades ago and is now part of its dedicated workforce

During a family vacation in 1993 at Lake Chelan, WA, 12-year-old Jesse Giordano started experiencing severe flu-like symptoms and extreme pain in his left arm.

“After a couple days holed up in the motel, my mom took me to an area emergency room,” Giordano said. “Other than confirming I had a fever, they told me to follow up with my primary care provider.”

That Monday morning, the family did just that. Giordano was given a blood test and then went home to wait for the results.

“We got a phone call later that day or early Tuesday directing us to Seattle Children’s immediately,” he recalled. “I was not super worried, but my mom was an absolute wreck.”

The family arrived at Seattle Children’s for the appointment in an area now called the Ocean zone.

At the appointment, doctors conducted a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and found something concerning.

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Seattle Seahawks Pay a Special Visit to Seattle Children’s Patients During the Holidays

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith visits with a pediatric patient at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Seattle Children’s patients and families were surprised this holiday season when some exciting visitors stopped by – Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Michael Dickson, punter, Joey Hunt, center, and Jalen McKenzie, tackle.

The players delivered teddy bears, signed autographs, played video games, and shared special moments with our patients and their families.

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‘The Fight of My Life’ | How Becky Found a Lifelong Passion After Battling Childhood Cancer

PART FOUR: From witnessing exceptional care and compassion given to children in their own lives, to receiving treatment first-hand, this weekly series features Seattle Children’s employees and the life experiences that drove them to pursue careers in healthcare.

Natalie Jean Ahrens (left) helped care for Becky Greenway when she was a pediatric patient at Seattle Children’s

In 1991, Becky Greenway was a 17-year-old student facing chronic knee pain throughout her senior year of high school.

“My pain was worse at night and the only way I could get any relief was by soaking it in the bathtub,” she recalled.

Greenway sought care from several primary care doctors who provided varying diagnoses, including tendonitis, growing pains and a possible mental disorder.

“This fourth doctor couldn’t find any reason for my pain, so he was convinced it was all in my head,” Greenway explained.

Feeling exasperated, Greenway’s mother pushed forward, certain that the root of her daughter’s pain was something more serious.

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No Distance Too Far; How Johanna’s Unique Experience Drove Her to Healthcare

PART THREE: From witnessing exceptional care and compassion given to children in their own lives, to receiving treatment first-hand, this weekly series features Seattle Children’s employees and the life experiences that drove them to pursue careers in healthcare.

Top: After receiving treatment at Seattle Children’s for chronic pain and arthritis, Johanna celebrated her 15th birthday. Bottom: Today, Johanna and her husband, Carlos.

Seattle Children’s has been part of Johanna Sánchez-Vargas’s life since she was 13 years old. Her family immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico to a small agricultural town in the Yakima Valley. There, the family planted roots and started working as farmworkers.

Throughout her childhood, Sánchez-Vargas experienced chronic pain and arthritis, and was treated in Seattle Children’s Rheumatology Program for spondyloarthropathies, a group of inflammatory diseases of the joints and areas where tendons attach to bones. It typically affects the lower part of a child’s body, including the hips, knees and ankles.

“Predominantly, I had persistent pain that hindered my ability to walk,” she said. “As a kid, I struggled with being visibly disabled. I remember going through the halls of my middle school with my wheelchair and feeling isolated for being different.”

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Little ‘Legend’ With Rare Facial Condition Travels Almost 5000 Miles for Life-Changing Surgeries at Seattle Children’s

7-year-old Loui Legend Heath Herriott was born with Treacher Collins syndrome

Located just under two hours from London in South East England is the coastal city of Brighton, home to a 7-year-old child who is truly living up to his name.

Loui Legend Heath Herriott was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the development of bones and tissues in the face, and occurs in about 1 in 50,000 newborns worldwide.

Though the severity of this syndrome varies from child to child, impacted areas often include the cheekbones, jaws, ears and eyelids, and children often have problems breathing, swallowing, chewing, hearing and with speech.

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How You Can Support Patient Families Living Paycheck to Paycheck

This is the second holiday season Seattle Children’s Building Maintenance Technician Jerome Ramos will spend with his family in the hospital.

 

His daughter has been in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant since July 2021.  Before coming to Seattle Children’s, 10-month-old Kaelyn, of Honolulu, Hawaii, was experiencing shortness of breath. 

 

When her face puffed up one day, her parents, Jerome and Christine Ramos, thought Kaelyn was having an allergic reaction and brought her to their local emergency department. Providers ruled out allergies, but recommended Kaelyn have an echocardiogram (ECHO) — a common test used to measure heart function.  

 

Shortly after leaving Kaelyn with the technician, Christine and Jerome heard a voice over the hospital paging system: “Code Blue, ECHO.”  “We were in shock,” Christine remembers. “She seemed fine when we dropped her off but when we got back to Kaelyn, we saw our child being resuscitated. It was devastating.”  

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‘Cancer Doesn’t Always Win’ | Sofia’s Personal Connection to “Hope. Care. Cure.”

PART ONE: From witnessing exceptional care and compassion given to children in their own lives, to receiving treatment first-hand, this weekly series features Seattle Children’s employees and the life experiences that drove them to pursue careers in healthcare.

Sofia Carlo was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma as a child

Shortly after Sofia Carlo finished the sixth grade, she started experiencing bouts of intense back pain.

“I went to see my primary care provider who thought I may be developing some scoliosis,” she recalled. “Upon receiving that scoliosis X-ray, I was referred for an MRI because the radiologist noted on my X-ray that I had osteophyte on a portion of my vertebra.”

Osteophyte is an abnormal bone growth, also known as a bone spur. Within a week of Carlo’s MRI, she was being treated at Seattle Children’s where she received a biopsy.

“That MRI revealed a mass growing in my spine. I was then officially diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma bone cancer at just 12 years old and was getting chemotherapy within two weeks of that original scoliosis X-ray,” she said.

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Fetal Care and Treatment Center Performs Successful First Laser Ablation Procedure for Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Twins Juniper ‘June’ and Hazel’s mom, Katie Harmston, was the first Fetal Care and Treatment Center patient to undergo a laser ablation procedure for TTTS.

 

Katie and Nic Harmston were distraught as they drove to Kaiser for an ultrasound in July 2021. Katie was six and a half weeks pregnant but was experiencing symptoms of a miscarriage. They both feared the worst.

The Harmstons held their breath as the ultrasound began. After a moment, the sonographer smiled and said, “We have a heartbeat.” Katie and Nic were nearly overwhelmed with relief. Then the sonographer said something unexpected.

“Hold on — there are two heartbeats!”

“We were shocked to find out it was twins,” Katie says. “I just started crying and laughing.”

 

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‘The Ultimate Gift’ | Young Girl Flourishing After Receiving Life-Saving Transplant

4-year-old Ruby was born with biliary atresia and had a transplant in 2022 at Seattle Children’s

After receiving a life-saving liver transplant at Seattle Children’s, 4-year-old Ruby Josephine Mwamba is thriving and living a dramatically different life than she was at this time last year.

Ruby was born with biliary atresia, a liver condition that occurs when a baby’s bile ducts do not form normally and are unable drain bile. Bile is the liquid that helps the body break down fats, from the liver. When it doesn’t drain, it can cause scarring of the liver and yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice.

Ruby’s parents Melissa and Gabriel Mwamba learned about Ruby’s disease shortly after she was born. At only a few months old, Ruby had surgery to try to correct her condition, but unfortunately the relief was short-lived.

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Improving Urologic Outcomes for Newborns and Young Children with Spina Bifida

10-year-old Stella is a patient at Seattle Children’s

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have teamed up with clinicians at Seattle Children’s to identify and evaluate the best urologic management for newborns and young children with spina bifida in a nationwide study called (Urologic Management to Preserve Initial REnal function (UMPIRE).

Launched in 2014, the multi-site, multi-year UMPIRE program aims to increase the understanding of kidney, bladder health and function, which are closely linked, in the early years. It also brings together a unique collaboration of doctors and nurses from more than 20 clinics across the country including Seattle Children’s Urology Program, which has been ranked among the top 10 pediatric urology programs the United States for the past three years by the U.S. News & World Report.

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