Your connection to top pediatric health care professionals; what's new in the world of children's health; and expert tips to help you raise happy, healthy kids.

December 21, 2018

Getting to Know: Karen Miller, B.S.N., R.N., C.E.N. – Neuro-Oncology Case Manager at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

Karen Miller, B.S.N., R.N., C.E.N., (pictured in the birthday hat with some of her neuro-oncology teammates), has been a nursing pro for the past 12 years, and has been overseeing all aspects of brain tumor cases at Rady Children’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders since June 2018. We chatted with the San Diego newcomer to learn more about her role as neuro-oncology case manager, her penchant for a certain red-haired crooner and what local staple she’s obsessed with snacking on.

As a nurse case manager, what’s your day-to-day like?  Read More...

Hematology/Oncology, Staff Stories
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December 18, 2018

Rady Children’s ECMO Expertise Goes Global

George Sutherland, M.B.A., R.R.T.-N.P.S. (pictured middle right), is going places. And while he certainly excels in his role as Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego’s extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) coordinator, we mean this literally. That’s because in Nov. 2018, Sutherland led a group of Rady Children’s ECMO experts on a volunteer trip to China, where they helped train 25 practitioners at Chengdu Women’s and Children’s Central Hospital on this life-saving technology and establish a neonatal ECMO program. Sutherland’s fellow volunteers included Denise Suttner, M.D. (pictured middle left); Jose Honold, M.D.; Carlos Ramos, M.D.; Erika Fernandez, M.D. and ECMO Primes Lutchi Abraham, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N.; Elana Sterling, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N.; Arjumand Gutierrez, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N.; and Patricia Belmares, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N.

ECMO is a complex form of cardiac bypass technology that uses mechanical devices to support heart and/or lung function in severe heart or lung failure that is unresponsive to conventional care. ECMO removes deoxygenated blood from the body; oxygenates, ventilates and warms the blood through an artificial lung; and returns the blood to the patient via a cannula, or medical tube. Rady Children’s is equipped with seven ECMO pumps and has a staff ECMO prime, who can put patients on ECMO and oversee their care once a surgeon places their access catheters, in-house 24/7. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in San Diego County that offers this service to pediatric patients, and has managed the care of more than 700 children since beginning its ECMO program in 1987.  Read More...

Cardiology, Giving Back, Staff Stories
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December 12, 2018

A Continuum of Care: Kelly’s Story

If you take a walk by our inpatient pharmacy on the weekend, it’s likely you’ll catch Kelly Chan, a 23-year-old Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, hard at work as an intern. For Kelly, vying for this role was an easy decision — after all, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego was the first home she ever knew.

When she was pregnant, Kelly’s mother underwent a procedure that screens for fetal abnormalities through a small sample of amniotic fluid. The analysis revealed that something was seriously wrong with Kelly’s development. Further studies revealed that Kelly would be born with a right-sided diaphragmatic hernia. This rare birth defect results in a large hole in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen and chest, and supports breathing function. Through the hole, Kelly’s liver and bowel had moved into her chest, preventing her right lung from developing. Kelly’s mom would need to deliver by cesarean section, and Kelly would require a critical intervention right after birth.  Read More...

NICU, Staff Stories
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December 12, 2018

Food for Thought: Understanding and Managing Food Allergies in Kids

Food allergies are becoming increasingly common, particularly in children. We sat down with Stephanie Leonard, M.D., director of the Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego Food Allergy Center and an associate clinical professor for the Division of Allergy-Immunology-Rheumatology within University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, to discuss prevalence, what’s new in research and how we can all work together to better protect kids managing allergies.

Food Allergies 101 

Allergy/Immunology, Research and Innovation
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December 4, 2018

Simple Tips for Raising a Compassionate Kid

As parents, you strive to instill good values in your kids — mind your manners, be a good sport, sharing is caring. Among the most prized of these warm and fuzzy human traits is having compassion for others, but it can be tough to gauge when children are ready to grasp and grow this emotionally complex concept. We asked three experts from Rady Children’s Developmental Services team — Maggie Kershaw, M.S., M.S.W., a behavior specialist at Children’s Care Connection (C3); Brian Fritz, B.C.B.A., a behavior specialist at the Autism Discovery Institute; and Lorri Bauer, M.S., a behavior specialist at C3 and KidSTART Center — to provide some guidance on kicking off the conversation and continuing to nurture compassionate kids through all stages of childhood.

An Early Start 

Behavioral Health, Child Development
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November 30, 2018

What’s New in Flu? A Q&A with Dr. John Bradley

Ah, winter — a time for holiday cheer, sweater weather (well — for San Diego, at least sometimes) and … the flu. Most of us have experienced this nasty virus at least once, and last season’s strain made headlines for infecting even those who were vaccinated, and for its effects on children. To help parents prep for this year and guard their kiddos as much as possible, we connected with John Bradley, M.D., director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and a professor and chief for the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Pediatrics at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

Q: What do we know about this year’s flu?  Read More...

Flu Information, Vaccines
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November 21, 2018

The Bedtime Cart: Creating Sweeter Dreams for Rady Children’s Patients

It’s a Wednesday night. The lights in the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego are low, and a lull has fallen over halls that were full of hustle and bustle just a few hours ago. But in the midst of the evening quiet, there’s still activity afoot. From patient rooms drift gently whispered tales of Harry Potter and Thomas the Tank Engine, and the soothing aroma of freshly brewed chamomile tea fills the air. That’s because on Wednesday nights, The Bedtime Cart — and its devoted volunteers — make the rounds to bring a little extra comfort to the center’s patients and their families.

The Bedtime Cart has been delivering sweeter dreams since 2015, when Margaret Fitzgerald, B.S.N., R.N., C.P.O.N. (pictured on the right), a 16-year Rady Children’s employee and hematology/oncology nurse-turned nurse manager-turned interim director of the Peckham Center, got it rolling. “I started because I really wanted patients and families to have what they needed to get a good night’s sleep,” she says. “You should have the same routine you have at home. So I thought, ‘well, I’ll start a cart that goes around with volunteers.’” Stocked with goods such as cozy socks, soft flannel pillowcases, herbal teas, books for kids of all ages and even miniature bottles of a custom-blended lavender aromatherapy lotion, the cart was an instant hit with patients and loved ones, so much so that Margaret has helped replicate it in two additional units.  Read More...

Giving Back, Hematology/Oncology
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November 5, 2018

Beating Up Bullying

In recent years, bullying has become increasingly recognized as a widespread and common issue for young people. And it’s not just happening during those classically challenging middle school years. About 20 percent of high school students are bullied[1], while 90 percent of elementary school children say they’ve been bullied at least once by their peers[2]. While bullying can happen to any child, “often, kids are bullied because of differences in race or religion, or because of disabilities or special needs. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex youth are also at a higher risk for being targeted,” says Brent Crandal, Ph.D., child and family psychologist at The Chadwick Center for Children & Families at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

After the initial sting of bullying has worn off, its effects can be lasting and profound. “Bullying can be a source of intense strain, worry, sadness and isolation,” Crandal explains. “Sometimes, bullying carries on for weeks, months and even years, and can often be traumatizing.” For example, bullying has been linked to serious mental health implications ranging from agoraphobia, anxiety and panic disorders, depression, and antisocial personality disorder to suicidal ideation, plans and attempts[3].  Read More...

Behavioral Health
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