2008 News Release Archive
A new year can mean new resolutions for both children and adults alike. But whether you’re young or old, it can be tough to keep those good habits throughout the year. There’s why a little careful planning and ongoing follow-up can go a long way. “Kids are not too young to also participate in the fun of setting New Years resolutions,” says Dr. April Nesin, pediatric clinical psychologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “In fact, parents and children may have more success if they make New Years resolutions as a family, with every family member having a specific part, and all are accountable.”
St. Louis Children’s Hospital is among the top 5 pediatric hospitals in the United States according to the results of a comprehensive study of more than 100 children’s hospitals released today by Parents magazine. St. Louis Children’s Hospital‘s #5 ranking is the highest overall for the hospital since the survey began in 2001. St. Louis Children’s is the only hospital in Missouri, Illinois, and the surrounding eight-state region to make the list.
St. Louis-area families now have a new home for Child Safety. St. Louis Children’s Hospital has unveiled a newly-expanded “Safety Stop,” an onsite area where certified safety experts will offer free safety consultation appointments and discounted products to hospital patients and families in the community. In addition to helmet, car seat and home safety information and products, Safety Stop also will include consultations for the hospital’s new Safe Escape Program, which offers families of children with disabilities and special health care needs education, information and equipment to prepare for safe evacuation during emergencies or natural disasters.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric hospital in the region to receive three national honors from the US Department of Health and Human Services for organ donation and transplantation. During the Fourth National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation, held in October in Nashville, Tennessee, Children’s Hospital received a Medal of Honor for achieving a 75% conversion rate for organ donation in the last twelve months. This was the fourth consecutive year St. Louis Children’s Hospital received the honor.
Children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year. Burns, falls and other serious injuries can make October 31st as frightening for parents as it is for their little goblins. "The single most important thing is for kids to wear costumes that can be easily seen by drivers," says Dr. Joseph Gunn, emergency medicine physician at St. Louis Children's Hospital, "and be very careful about obeying the rules of crossing the streets."
Children with sickle cell disease at St. Louis Children’s Hospital will be wrapped in the warmth of a stranger’s kindness this winter. That stranger, 102-year-old Corrine Fick, has donated more than 100 blankets to the children. Fick, who is legally blind and nearly deaf, began making the blankets to improve her manual dexterity, at the recommendation of her physical therapist.
Clubfoot, one of the most common birth defects, has long been thought to have a genetic component. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have found the first gene linked to clubfoot in humans. Their research will be published in the Nov. 7 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Two weeks after an American Heart Association study outlined the success of miniaturized heart assist pumps, the Berlin heart – a pediatric ventricular assist device – received unconditional FDA approval for clinical trails. In the study, led by Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, nine pediatric patients with severe heart failure were successfully kept alive for an average of 35 days with miniaturized heart assist pumps while awaiting a heart transplant.
In the last 10 years, the St. Louis area has seen an alarming increase in new diagnoses of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among 13-24 year-olds. Between 1997-2007, more than 50 new diagnoses of HIV were made each year among adolescents and young adults, who are often disconnected from the health-care system or support services. Nationwide, St. Louis has among the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in this age group.
The sights and sounds of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race had special meaning this year for children treated at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for severe to profound hearing problems. Patients, families, medical and hospital staff celebrated a surgical milestone – the 500th Pediatric Cochlear Implant that occurred this past spring, making the hospital’s Cochlear Implant Program one of the largest and most successful in the region.
Visitors at the world-renowned Saint Louis Zoo will now receive medical support provided by nationally-ranked St. Louis Children’s Hospital. About 20 hospital paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will staff the Zoo’s first official first aid station to provide medical help for visitors, Zoo employees and volunteers needing treatment for minor injuries.
Diseases are spread easily at daycare and at school. Children spread germs more than adults. Young children share toys and often put their hands in their mouths. Children tend to wash their hands less. All of these things put them at a higher risk of getting sick. Find out what you should know and what you should do about sickness at school.
Michael R. DeBaun, M.D., M.P.H., has been named the Ferring Family Chair in Pediatric Cancer and Related Disorders at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The endowed chair was established by John and Alison Ferring of St. Louis. DeBaun was installed May 22, 2008. DeBaun is professor of pediatrics, of biostatistics and of neurology at the School of Medicine and a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Many families will celebrate America's independence this year with fireworks. While fireworks may be sold legally in some municipalities, most safety experts continue to advise against private use, especially by children. "There are no safe fireworks," says Doug Carlson, MD, pediatric emergency physician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. "Even the simple ones like sparklers can cause severe burns to young children if they're not supervised."
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has announced sweeping changes to its pediatric organ allocation policy, giving more weight to the severity of a child’s illness, and less to his or her geographical location. Physicians at pediatric transplant centers, like St. Louis Children’s Hospital, believe this will shorten the wait for organs for the very sickest young patients who, in the past, had to compete with older, less severely ill patients for the same organs.
The fourth consecutive year of Camp Rhythm took place in late June at Babler State Park in Chesterfield, MO. Camp Rhythm is the first camp in the St. Louis area dedicated to the needs of children with heart problems. St. Louis Children’s Hospital developed “Camp Rhythm,” to address the special needs of children who’ve had heart surgeries, even heart transplants or have congenital heart problems. At Camp Rhythm, children proudly display their chest scars and take comfort in their common surgical and medical experiences.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in all of the seven specialties rated by US News & World Report in the 2008 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.” St. Louis Children’s Hospital ranked 6tth in neurology and neurosurgery, 11th in neonatal care, 12th in respiratory disorders, 17th in general pediatrics, cancer care, heart and heart surgery, and 23rd in digestive disorders.
Couples thinking about “trying for a baby” may want to put their plans on hold for three to six months as they prepare their bodies for a healthy conception that will give their babies the best chance to avoid birth defects. “The most important time in a pregnancy is the first four to eight weeks when most of a fetus’s organs are being formed,” said F. Sessions Cole, M.D., director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics, cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine.
St. Louis, MO– Physicians, nurses and child advocates at St. Louis Children’s Hospital joined U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond in congratulating the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) for 25 years of fighting child abuse and neglect. In a reception at the hospital, physician leaders also thanked Bond for his longtime dedication to children’s health issues and support of legislation to train medical professionals who care for children.
St. Louis Children's Hospital presented its annual Advocacy Awards to James Buford, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and state Sen. James Clayborne, Belleville, whose 57th district encompasses much of the Metro-East area. The awards were established in 1994 to recognize local and state leaders who use their positions, influence and resources to do what's right for children.
Devan Hall is a sixteen-year-old sophomore at Francis Howell High School in St. Charles. With his tall, skinny build, it’s no surprise he had “hoop dreams” on the basketball court. What was surprising, however, was that playing his favorite sport could kill him. When Devan was eight, he learned he had Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects the entire body, including the skeleton, eyes and heart.
Failure to successfully transition from the womb to the outside world can result in a lifetime of difficulty– from learning disabilities, to vision impairment, to cerebral palsy. It can also be deadly. Now, doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine are using a therapy they call ‘therapeutic hypothermia,’ which can mitigate those effects, or prevent them altogether, in certain populations of babies.
It may not be what’s on his plate that’s causing your child’s weight gain. He could be drinking himself into obesity, according to pediatric dietitians. St. Louis Children’s Hospital registered dietitian, Tara Todd, says high calorie drinks – even fruit juices – can add up fast. Soda, energy drinks and fruit juices are some of the main culprits for weight gain in kids.
Two pediatric eye surgeons expressed alarm over what they label a “21st century snake oil” scam. Recent newspaper stories – including several from Missouri -- have reported parents flying their children to main land China for umbilical cord stem cell (CSC) infusions. The cost of these treatments, paid for entirely out-of-pocket by the parents, can be $50,000 or more. CSCs are extracted from the umbilical cords of Chinese mothers and their newborns, and injected into the fluid around the spinal cord of the American children.
Matthew Smyth, M.D. was among 1,291 Initiates from around the world who became Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) during convocation ceremonies at the College’s recent 93rd annual Clinical Congress in New Orleans in October 2007.Dr. Smyth received a medical doctorate degree in 1996 from the University of California, San Francisco, and is currently practicing at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital located in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2005, Dr. Smyth attained board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery.