On the Pulse

Seattle Children’s Outpatient Surgery Center Ousts Opioids from Surgeries

Eighteen months ago, Dr. Lynn Martin, an anesthesiologist and medical director of the ambulatory surgery center at Seattle Children’s, and his colleagues at the Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center set out to reduce the use of opioids during outpatient pediatric surgeries, while maintaining or improving pain management and outcomes for patients. Ultimately, they accomplished much more by successfully ousting opioid use during surgeries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the U.S. It is a problem Martin and his colleagues believe they can help address, which is what drove them to develop a novel initiative at Seattle Children’s to reduce opioids.

Martin and his colleagues completed their breakthrough quality improvement initiative to reduce opioid use and their findings were published in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Read full post »


How to Support Individuals with Autism during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, On the Pulse is shedding light on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on children, teens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how we can support them through these uncertain times.

As a society, we often rely on routines. With the COVID-19 pandemic uprooting our daily activities, we are being challenged to adapt to what we’re considering the “new normal.”

This is an especially challenging time for those with autism. Routines are critical for individuals on the spectrum, as they thrive on structure and consistency.

In recent data from March 2020 released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism now affects 1 in 54 children. According to the CDC, ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Individuals often repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many also have different ways of learning, paying attention or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

James Mancini, a speech and language pathologist with the Seattle Children’s Autism Center, and Tammy Mitchel, program director of the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, share ways individuals with autism and their families can cope during this unique time.

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The Teasley Sisters Embrace Living Without Limits

The Teasley sisters visit Dr. Kathy Sie, who helped them become the successful young women they are today. From left to right: Erika, Alicia, Dr. Sie and Janna.

When Ken and Kathi Teasley learned their two oldest daughters were deaf, they feared it would hold them back. Instead, Seattle Children’s providers taught the girls to live without limits and use their experience as people who are deaf and hard of hearing to help others.

Now in their 20s, all three of the Teasley sisters volunteer or work at Seattle Children’s. Read full post »


Seattle Children’s Teachers Offer Advice During COVID-19 School Closures

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 »


Masks Connecting Communities

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center donates masks to Seattle Children’s.

When Seattle Children’s posted on social media asking followers to consider donating any unopened masks in light of a global manufacturing shortage and the impact of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the community responded in a big way.

In one week, community members near and far rallied to donate more than 17,000 masks and these numbers are expected to increase with more donations in the coming weeks.

“We were overwhelmed by the rapid and extensive response by our community,” said Aileen Kelly, executive director of Seattle Children’s Guild Association. “In times like these, it is heartwarming to see people come together to serve the greater good. We are very appreciative of this generosity and it’s not lost on us how a simple thing like a mask can make a significant impact locally, nationally and globally.”

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Zeroing in on COVID-19

COVID-19_ED

A curb side initial screening for COVID-19 symptoms allows nurses to determine if a patient needs isolation before entering the Emergency Department. (Slide 1/6)

COVID-19_SIU

If a patient is showing potential symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to be cared for in the hospital, then they are admitted to Seattle Children’s Special Isolation Unit (SIU). This photo was taken during a recent simulation training in the SIU. (Slide 2/6)

COVID-19_Children and SARSCOV2

Dr. Whitney Harrington, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, plans to launch a study that will provide valuable epidemiological data from a community cohort on who’s becoming infected, when they’re becoming infected, and who’s getting sick from the infection. (Slide 3/6)

COVID-19_Coler_vaccine

The Coler Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is using their expertise to support the clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. (Slide 4/6)

COVID-19_Myler_Structure

Another collaborative research effort led by Dr. Peter Myler, a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s, has already contributed findings about for vaccine development efforts and new knowledge generated daily is expected to aid in drug development. (Slide 5/6)

COVID-19_mental wellness

Children and teens trying to make sense of what the COVID-19 pandemic means for their families and communities may feel more worry than usual. Any caregiver can take steps to help children and teens cope during this stressful time. (Slide 6/6)

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When health officials learned a Seattle Children’s patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in late February, it sent a ripple through health and scientific communities nationwide. It was the first example of community transmission in the state of Washington, indicating the virus causing COVID-19 had likely been spreading in Seattle and the surrounding region undetected.

It was a moment Seattle Children’s had prepared to face since establishing an incident command center more than one month prior. From this command center, teams from across the organization met to support advance planning and coordinate actions for a potential COVID-19 surge in the region.

“Before there were any confirmed cases in the U.S., Seattle Children’s anticipated the potential for an outbreak in our region,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s Chief Executive Officer. “Over the past several weeks, we have provided specialized training for our team, established strict protocols for health and hygiene, and consolidated essential supplies so that we would be ready to protect our patients.”

Now other cities are turning to Seattle for insight on what to expect as the growing pandemic reaches their communities. On the Pulse offers a behind the scenes look at how the leading pediatric hospital and research institute at the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak is responding to this quickly evolving global health issue. Read full post »


Helping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety About COVID-19

As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, adults, children and teens are trying to make sense of what the outbreak means for their families and communities. Those with anxiety disorders may feel more worry than usual.

On the Pulse asked Dr. Jennifer Blossom, a psychology postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Clinic, how to share information with the children and teens in your life in a way that helps prevent too much worry. The good news is that just as there are steps you can take to help you and your loved ones try to avoid the illness, there are steps you can take to help your child or teen cope with the situation.

“There are a number of ways parents can successfully help their child stay on track during this time,” Blossom said. “In general, the goal is for parents to encourage their child’s participation in routine activities, such as going to school (as informed by the most recent public health recommendations or decision by your child’s school district), while helping their child think realistically about the risks.” Read full post »


Childhood Tics: Will My Child Outgrow Them?

Childhood tics and movement disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Tics can range from a subtle nasal sniff or throat clearing to a more severe head snap or vocal outburst.

Tics that start in elementary school and continue during adolescence are also common. According to Dr. Dararat Mingbunjerdsuk, a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders at Seattle Children’s Neurosciences Center, up to 10-20% of school-age children may exhibit a tic at one point in their life.

“Tics that come and go are the most common cause of movement disorder we see in the clinic,” she said. “The vast majority of children eventually outgrow their tics or the tics become less frequent or less severe as the person enters adulthood.”
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Marcus Joins Clinical Trial to Help Hearts Like His

Worry flooded Candice Andrews’ mind as doctors wheeled her newborn son away for open heart surgery.

“I knew about his heart condition since I was 7 months pregnant,” Andrews said. “However, it was still very scary knowing that someone was going to do surgery on my 7-day old baby.”

Andrews’ son, Marcus, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare and serious birth defect that occurs when the left side of the heart is not fully developed.

Fortunately, Marcus recovered well after his first of what would be three surgeries needed to treat his heart condition.

“Doctors mentioned how exceptional his recoveries were,” Andrews said. “We were so grateful, given how unknown the entire situation was for us.”

Although his first few years of a life were a bit rocky, Marcus remained relatively healthy as he progressed through childhood.

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For Mother-Daughter, Science and Medicine Run in the Family

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey (left) and Dr. Ann Dahlberg (right), are not only mother-daughter but also fellow clinical researchers and at Seattle Children’s.

When Dr. Bonnie Ramsey entered medical school at the advice of an undergraduate professor in the early 1970s, she and her female classmates at Harvard Medical School were still among the early coteries of women to pursue careers in science and medicine.

“We were the first bolus of women,” Ramsey said, using the medical term to describe their injection into a field dominated by male physicians. “It was interesting. When you are the first cohort, there is a tendency to compete with each other rather than work as a team.”

Since finding her footing in those early days, Ramsey has pioneered therapies improving the lives of children with cystic fibrosis (CF). Today, she leads all clinical research efforts at Seattle Children’s as the director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Her career will no doubt leave a lasting impact for the future physicians, researchers and women that will follow her, but for Ramsey, it’s a personal legacy that makes her most proud. Over the last decade, she’s watched her daughter enter the medical field and become a formidable physician-scientist in her own right.

“I am so incredibly proud of her,” Ramsey said. “Watching what she has to juggle and balance is in some ways harder for me than doing what I did with no real generation ahead of me to look to for guidance.” Read full post »