Winter Wives’ Tale

The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital sets the record straight…

Put on your hat since you lose most of your body heat through your head.”
This is not necessarily true! Your body heat escapes from any exposed area- so if you had on snow pants and a T-shirt and you forget your hat and jacket, the most amount of heat would escape through your arms- since that would be the largest exposed part of your body. Putting on winter accessories such as hats, mittens and scarves is still a very good idea to avoid the outside dangers of frostbite and hypothermia.

You will get sick if you go outside with wet hair.”
This is another winter wives’ tale. While your kids may be cold, they won’t actually catch a cold by venturing outdoors with a wet head. Germs are spread by people, and temperature simply doesn’t play a part.

 

Signs of Bullying

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

As a parent, there are many things you need to diligently watch for in your child. One of them is to look for signs of bullying.

There are health risks related to depression for the victim, bully, and those who witness bullying, which may include:

  • Irritability or angerdoctor-consoling-patient-126648704
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Multiple joint and muscle pains
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Difficulties in falling and/or staying asleep
  • Self-injury (i.e., cutting)
  • Impulsivity
  • Suicide attempts
  • Homicidal thoughts

If your child is experiencing any of the above, talk with them, and contact their pediatrician or teacher. For more information call 800-808-7437.

 

 

8 Tips to Confront Bullying in School

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

bullyingBullying is a behavior that is both repeated and intended to hurt someone either physically, emotionally, or both. It can take many forms like teasing, name calling, making threats, physical assaults, and cyber-bullying.

If your child is being bullied and is attending one of Maryland’s public schools, you and your child have the right to report your concerns. The school also has the responsibility to investigate those concerns. Here are eight tips to stop bullying and report the problem:

  • Ask your child’s teacher, counselor, or administrator if you can speak privately about a personal problem. Talk about what is happening or making you (or your child) uncomfortable, and how long it’s been going on.
  • Ask for a Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form; or download at GracesLawMaryland.com. Complete the form, return one copy to the administrator, and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Feel free to call the Maryland State Department of Education if you have additional questions regarding the completion of the Bullying Form. You can reach them at 410-767-0031.
  • If an incident occurs in an unstructured area, ask what the school will do to make you (or your child) feel safe.
  • Ask the administrator to investigate allegations, develop a plan of support and schedule a meeting.
  • If your child is being bullied on a social media site, take a screen shot and save the content to share with parents, police, and the school administration. Fill out a report as often as you need to.
  • Change your password, use privacy settings, and block people on social media who send negative messages, texts, tweets or photos.
  • Ask friends not to share negative social media or pass along to others.

For more information call 800-808-7437.

Brushing Twice a Day Keeps Decay Away – National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Zuryna Smith, System Communications Intern

Little boy teethNational Children’s Dental Health Month was introduced by the American Dental Association as a way to provide crucial information regarding oral health in children.

It started as a one-day event in Cleveland. As the importance of the issue of oral health became more prevalent, the one-day event spanned across a week and eventually became a month-long event that garnered global attention.

The ADA provides health fairs, free dental screenings, and other activities that promote the adoption of healthy oral health techniques.  This year’s campaign slogan is entitled “Sugar Wars,” a spin on the sci-fiction film Star Wars.

Tooth decay and loss is one of the main oral health issues that affect children. Preventative care is the only way to deter the loss of teeth. The rule of thumb is to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. In addition to proper brushing techniques, parents should be vigilant in their efforts to keep their children’s teeth shiny and healthy.

Here are a few tips that will encourage healthy dental habits:

  • Emphasize the importance of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural chemical that prevents decay and strengthens the enamel of teeth. It can be found in tap water and is also available as a supplement.
  • A healthy and balanced diet is a necessity in order to prevent tooth decay. While starches and fruits are essential to a child’s diet, certain foods need to be given in moderation. Starchy and sticky foods tend to stay on the child’s teeth and cause cavities as well as decay.
  • Daily cleaning should take place as soon as the child develops their first tooth. A small piece of gauze or a damp cloth can be used to clean the tooth. As the child gets older a toothbrush with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used.

Dental sealants are another method of prevention for young children. Dental sealants are small, plastic coatings that cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It helps to prevent excess food and germs from getting caught in the crevices of the teeth.

Childrens teeth

University of Maryland School of Dentistry students participated in an outreach program where they provided free sealant treatments to children in need at the Perryville Clinic. The overall purpose of the event was to provide assistance and education to those who would not normally have access to proper dental care providers.

For more information about an upcoming Sealant Saturday event please contact the Perryville Clinic at 410-706-4900.

Pediatric Dental Appointments are available at the University of Maryland Pediatric Dental Clinic by calling 410-706-4213. You can also search for a Dental Health provider by using our website.

Public Health Leaders Urge Vaccination Against Measles

Physician-in-Chief, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

It is impossible today to turn on the TV or read the news without hearing about the current debate surrounding childhood vaccinations and the measles outbreaks in the United States.

As chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, I took the opportunity to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated by participating in a joint statement with other pediatric and public health leaders from around Baltimore. Please consider the public health benefits of vaccinating your children, and talk to your pediatrician to get the answers you need to feel comfortable with this lifesaving decision.

A Little Hero Recovers from Heart Surgery to Run Like Superman


Editor’s note:
For 2-year-old Thaddeous McKenzie, the Baltimore Running Festival was just a fun day when he got to run fast with a bunch of other kids. For his mother, Jennifer McAnany, and others who formed “Team Thaddeous,” it meant a lot more.  

By Jennifer McAnany

(as told to Amy Katz)

I felt my son grip my hand tightly as he wiggled in anticipation of the race. He was restless, but only because he was excited to run in the Kids Fun Run at the Baltimore Running Festival. I looked down at him, beaming with pride. I could think only about how truly blessed I am to have a healthy child who is living life to the fullest and being a normal 2-year-old.

When I was pregnant with my son Thaddeous, I wanted the best care possible for my baby. Because of complications, I was already considered a high-risk pregnancy, so I went to see Dr. Geoffrey Rosenthal at University of Maryland Medical Center. At 20 weeks, doctors found a heart defect and diagnosed Thaddeous with Tetralogy of Fallot. In this heart defect, it is difficult for the heart to pump oxygen properly, causing the child’s lips, tongue, and fingers to turn blue from lack of oxygen. The most common treatment for TOF is usually open heart surgery, and this surgery usually must occur within the first few months of life. It was scary for me because we wouldn’t even know how bad the defect was until he was born.

The day Thaddeous was born was very nerve-racking for me. He was born at UMMC – where they were prepared to perform open heart surgery on him immediately, if he needed it. As soon as he was born, the nurses came and assessed him. I was thrilled when I learned little Thaddeous was well enough to be able to go home from the hospital with me when I was released two days later. He was monitored every couple weeks and seemed to be doing okay.

About 11 weeks later, when we went in for a genetics appointment with Dr. Julie Kaplan at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (part of the UM Medical System), she noticed that Thaddeous was looking a little blue, demonstrating one of his heart-defect symptoms. They had to immediately transport us from Upper Chesapeake hospital to the UM Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. It was a horrible weekend because his oxygen levels would drop every so often and he wasn’t scheduled to have open heart surgery until Monday morning. This is when we started calling him our little Superman because he pulled through his surgery and came out of it as our little hero.

Thaddeous McKenzie recovers after surgery. He's now a healthy 2-year-old.

Thaddeous McKenzie recovering after heart surgery at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. 

 

The full-heart repair was a success and Thaddeous recovered fairly quickly. He was doing great. So when I heard about the Children’s Heart Program Running Team in the Baltimore Running Festival on Oct. 12, not only did I sign up to run – I signed up our little Superman. He even had his own bib number. And then several family members and friends signed up. As “Team Thaddeous,” we raised money for the program to be able to help other young patients and families.

Ready, Set, GO! The buzzer went off to signal the start.

Thaddeous ran as fast as he could, trying his hardest to keep up with the other kids and pulling me along with him. He was having a blast in his Superman shirt with his cape blowing in the wind, and I felt so glad he is still on the mend.

He will still have to have yearly check-ups for the rest of his life, but he is living life like a normal 2-year-old. He has his hiccups at times but what 2-year-old doesn’t? He walks, he plays, he kicks the ball and does everything he wants to do. The sky is the limit for him now.

As we crossed the finish line, still hand-in-hand, I once again realized how thankful I was.  He wouldn’t be able to be here running this race beside me for the Children’s Heart Program if it wasn’t for all of his doctors, nurses, and everyone who helped him get where he is today. I did the race for Thaddeous and to give back to the program that had helped us. It was like everything came full circle, and I can’t thank everyone at the University of Maryland Medical System enough.

Go to the Team Thaddeous page to see more photos of Thaddeous or to make a donation to sponsor his team’s fundraising effort.

Team Thaddeous

Team Thaddeous after running to raise money for the Children’s Heart Program and, below, with Dr. Rosenthal (third from left).

 

Group picture with Dr. Rosenthal

 

Nurses Run for their ‘Heart Kids’

By Jen Arrington, MS, RN, CPN, and Kristen Fantel, BSN, RN, CEN

On Oct. 12, 17 nurses and friends of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) will be running in the Baltimore Running Festival to raise money for the UMMC Children’s Heart Program. When people ask us why we run, there’s one easy answer. We run for patients like Brandon Kerrigan and all of the heart kids that we care for everyday.

When Brandon celebrated his 15th birthday on Aug. 16, no one had any idea that two days later he would be fighting for his life. Brandon was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, and went into cardiac arrest while being flown from Easton to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Once Brandon was stabilized, his family was told that he would need a heart transplant. Since his arrival to the PICU, Brandon has been determined to get strong while he waits for his heart. He charms the nurses and staff with his bright smile and Nerf guns, just trying to be a normal 15-year-old, while cooped up in the hospital. You can see how charming he is in this picture of us with him at the bottom of our team page.

Brandon is only one example of a patient we are running for. We care for many cardiac patients in collaboration with the Children’s Heart Program. This program provides comprehensive cardiac care for children with a wide range of conditions — from rhythm abnormalities to childhood hypertension, from heart murmurs to serious birth defects requiring complicated heart surgery. While we care for these complex patients, they quickly become a part of our unit – we offer an encouraging smile to their parents in the hallway, we say our silent prayers. And on good days – we dodge Nerf guns as we enter the patient’s room.

The strength and resilience of these children, who battle against all odds, is simply inspiring. As nurses, we are often left with the feeling of wanting to do more. We carefully assess these patients for any changes in condition, we give medications, we advocate for their every need, and we attempt to play and create normalcy whenever we can. But we want to do more.

This is why we decided to run as part of the Children’s Heart Team. We don’t have a miracle drug and we can’t take away the heartache in the eyes of the parents of these patients. But we can run.

As with all of the patients we care for, the teamwork involved in the care of these patients is also inspiring. The team includes Nurses, Doctors, Child Life Specialists, Respiratory Therapists, OR and Cath Lab Staff, Rehabilitation Services – and many, many other people who deserve to be celebrated.

This strong team work was the inspiration for our fundraising efforts. We created a T-shirt that recognizes this team effort, and we are selling the T-shirt around the hospital in order to raise money for the Children’s Heart Program.

In addition to the shirt, we are also hosting a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Blue Hill Tavern in Canton. The restaurant will be donating 20% of its proceeds from the day to our cause. Schedule a lunch with your co-workers, dinner with your family, or join the PICU nurses for Happy Hour – and help an important cause.

Want to join us in our effort to do more? Contact us! Maybe today we can give back a little bit of the inspiration that we have received from these amazing children.

To make a donation: http://www.ummsfoundation.org/picuheart

“These Presents are Unbelievable!”

A mother of a patient in the  University of Maryland Children’s Hospital said to her husband at the child’s bedside, “Honey, you’ve got to go down and see Snow Pile. These presents are unbelievable!”

Imagine spending Christmas in the hospital with your sick child. Perhaps you are separated from your other children who are at home and well, missing their sibling. One parent stays with the sick child, the other parent is at home with the healthy children. Parents feel torn as they try to care for their entire families in different locations.

This scenario is not uncommon during the holidays for parents at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. So the Child Life team established Snow Pile, a surprise shopping experience for parents of inpatients.

Now in its third year, Snow Pile fills empty room after empty room with presents for children of all ages. Generous corporate and individual donors graciously give presents so that families may “shop” at Snow Pile during the holidays and get a much needed break from the stress of holding vigil at a sick child’s bedside. Snow Pile enables parents to do their Christmas shopping without having to leave the hospital.

Snow Pile is just one example of how the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital tries to treat the whole family by acknowledging the needs of not just the patients, but also the parents and siblings who are all affected when a child is sick. Each year, Snow Pile serves 30-40 families. Parents are surprised to receive an invitation to come to Snow Pile, and many are in disbelief that they can “shop” without limit, for free, and have the gifts wrapped for their child. Snow Pile even provides stockings and stuffers for siblings of patients. This year Panera Bread catered the event, providing goodies for parents to enjoy while their presents were wrapped.

A special husband and wife couple, Bob and Mandy, volunteered this year at Snow Pile, wrapping presents and talking with parents of patients. In 2010, they were on the receiving end of Snow Pile when their son was a patient. They were blown away by the unexpected joy they felt from participating in Snow Pile. Since then, they have volunteered at Snow Pile each year and have turned Christmas into an opportunity for their extended family to donate gifts to the Children’s Hospital instead of buying gifts for each other.

For information on how to donate gifts for children throughout the year, visit http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/help.htm.

Mandatory Pulse Oximetry Screening for Newborns Takes Effect in Maryland

By Carissa M. Baker-Smith, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Pediatric Cardiologist, University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program

A quick, painless and non-invasive test to determine the amount of oxygen in a newborn baby’s blood is a first step in screening infants for congenital heart defects. Beginning September 1, 2012, hospitals in Maryland must administer the test to all newborns.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs in approximately 8 of every 1,000 children.  Infants born with congenital heart disease have structural defects of the heart. Approximately 25% of all CHD cases are critical and require intervention during the infant’s first month of life. Interventions can include the administration of special medications or even surgery. Pulse oximetry may be helpful in improving the detection of critical CHD (CCHD).

On September 1, 2012, hospitals across Maryland begin mandatory pulse oximetry screening for all newborns. The screening must be done by a health professional before the infant is discharged and within 24 to 48 hours after birth. All hospitals in Maryland will be responsible for creating and implementing pulse oximetry screening protocols.

Children who “fail” pulse oximetry screening will undergo further evaluation, and their primary care providers will work closely with pediatric cardiologists to make the correct diagnosis. Failing the pulse oximetry test means oxygen saturation is lower than normal without another explanation, such as infection or lung disease.

What is pulse oximetry?

Pulse oximetry relies on the use of a non-invasive, painless method for detecting the amount of oxygen in the blood.  Probes are applied to the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot. The protocol selected by the State of Maryland for screening  is published in the Journal of Pediatrics (Pediatrics 2011; 128; e1259). Children with oxygen saturation less than 90% automatically test positive and fail screening.  Children with oxygen saturation greater than 95% test negative and pass screening. Children with oxygen saturation between 90% and 95% will undergo repeat testing and evaluation.

What is the potential impact of pulse oximetry screening?

We anticipate that pulse oximetry screening will enhance detection of CCHD. Data indicate that for every 1,000 children born in Maryland, 2.3 have CCHD.  Currently, between 60% and 70% of these infants are diagnosed through prenatal screening, leaving approximately 30% who are not yet diagnosed by the time they are born. Combined with physical examination, pulse oximetry is reported to improve sensitivity for detecting CHD by 20%.

What is the role of the Children’s Heart Program?

The University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program offers a comprehensive panel of services designed to accurately diagnose and effectively manage and treat children with CHD and CCHD.  Pediatric cardiologists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist with the diagnosis of CHD.  Through consultation and telemedicine services, the Children’s Heart Program is ready to assist surrounding providers and families with the evaluation of infants with suspected CCHD.

For more information on pulse oximetry, please contact the Children’s Heart Program at 410-328-4FIT (4348).

Dr. Baker-Smith is a member of the Maryland State Advisory Council’s Committee for CCHD and the Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease multi-institutional group.

A Mission to Ecuador for Pediatric Heart Surgeon

By Meghan Scalea

UMMC Communications Account Leader

Sunjay Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at UM School of Medicine and director of pediatric cardiac surgery at UMMC, recently returned from a medical mission to Ecuador, where he performed life-saving heart surgeries on nearly 20 children who would have died without surgery.

 

Dr. Kaushal, a father of two, is a huge advocate for kids. This medical mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador, was his fifth trip with the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF), a group dedicated to providing supplies, training and surgical resources to care for underprivileged children with heart disease in dozens of countries around the world.

According to the ICHF, 1% of the world’s population is born with heart disease, only about one-third is diagnosed, and even fewer receive life-saving heart surgery. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world.

“There is a huge surplus of kids with congenital heart disease,” says Kaushal. “Traveling with this group allows me to provide free health care for children who wouldn’t otherwise be treated.”

Joining him in Ecuadorwas UMMC certified surgical technologist, Nicolette Dupuis, who supports Dr. Kaushal in his pediatric heart surgeries in the OR in Baltimore. This marked Dr. Kaushal and Ms. Dupuis’s third medical mission trip together. During their week inEcuador, they worked with cardiologists and intensivists from hospitals around theU.S. in the sparse operating rooms.

 “Part of our job while we were inEcuadorwas to teach the local medical professionals to do congenital heart surgeries like we do, but on a smaller level,” says Dr. Kaushal. “Our day began at 7:30 am, and we’d operate until 9:00 pm. We staffed the ICU 24/7 during the time we were there to make sure those children had the post-operative care they needed.”

Dr. Kaushal is the only board-certified congenital heart surgeon inMaryland, giving him a unique expertise in performing surgical procedures on babies just a few days old who were born with heart disease, children with congenital and acquired heart disease, and adults living with heart conditions they developed as babies, known as adult congenital heart disease.

Dr. Kaushal performs the most complex pediatric heart surgeries available today, including surgeries for babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot and ventricular septal defect, and those in need of pulmonary valve replacement. He is also preparing to open a clinical trial that will use a baby’s own stem cells to regenerate the underdeveloped portion of their heart caused by hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

We invite you to learn more about what Dr. Kaushal and the Children’s Heart Program at UMMC are doing for children within the Mid-Atlantic region.