Author Archives: Jimmy Bellamy

About Jimmy Bellamy

Social media specialist, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Join Children’s trauma expert for Twitter chat

mn_Trauma_chat_880x440_Twitter

David Hirschman, MD

David Hirschman, MD

David Hirschman, MD, co-medical director of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s emergency department, will answer the questions you have about trauma, emergencies and the emergency room in a Twitter chat, courtesy of Children’s and the Twin Cities Moms Blog.

The hour-long Minnesota Trauma Chat takes place at noon Wednesday, July 8. The chat’s hashtag is #MNTraumaChat. Dr. Hirschman will tweet from Children’s account (@ChildrensMN), and the Twin Cities Moms Blog will host from its account (@TCMomsBlog).

A $50 Starbucks gift card will be given at random to one chat participant. Be sure to use #MNTraumaChat in your questions and comments to be eligible. Feel free to RSVP to the event and check out some Twitter chat 101 from the Twin Cities Moms Blog.

 

“Children’s Pedcast”: Meet the man behind “The Dude”

Eriq Nelson (left) portrays "The Dude" inside Star Studio at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Eriq Nelson (left) portrays “The Dude” inside Star Studio at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Eriq Nelson is an improv actor who plays a vital role at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota as “The Dude,” the face of the hospitals’ in-house TV station, Star Studio. Nelson talks about how he got his start at Children’s in 2007 and how “The Dude” can provide kids with a different kind of medicine through humor, laughter, play and entertainment.

“Children’s Pedcast” can be heard on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, YouTube and Vimeo.

Children’s doctors’ study shows increase in ER visits from self-inflicted injuries among teens

A motion blurred photograph of a child patient on stretcher or gurney being pushed at speed through a hospital corridor by doctors & nurses to an accident and emergency room

Self-inflicted injuries among teens made up 1.6 percent of emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2012. (iStock photo)

Emergency room visits for self-inflicted injuries among U.S. teens increased from 1.1 percent in 2009 to 1.6 percent in 2012, according to a study by Drs. Gretchen Cutler and Anupam Kharbanda of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The study, “Emergency Department Visits for Self-Inflicted Injuries in Adolescents,” published today in the July issue of Pediatrics, examines 286,678 adolescent trauma patients, 3,664 of whom sustained a self-inflicted injury (SII).

The study aimed to describe ER visits for self-inflicted injuries in teens from 2009-2012 by tracking trends in mechanism of injury and identifying factors associated with increased risk of self-harm behaviors. The most common form of SII are cutting and/or piercing injuries, while firearm injuries decreased.

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RESOURCES: Patient and family education materials about cutting

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subscribe_blogOther findings 

  • Females are more likely to experience cutting and/or piercing injuries and higher ER-visit rates than males.
  • Males are at greater risk of dying from their injuries, likely due to their use of more lethal forms of injury such as firearms.
  • Teens with comorbid conditions, especially those with greater than two conditions, are at the greatest risk for SII.
  • The authors found that risk of SII is lower in African American adolescents than in white teens.
  • Teens with public or no health insurance are at increased risk of death from their injuries than those with private insurance.

The authors conclude that these findings identify potential subgroups of adolescents who would benefit from SII-prevention efforts.

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RESOURCES: Patient and family education materials on emotions and behavior

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The research showcases the leadership role Children’s plays within this community and nationally when it comes to caring for children. Stories about the study also appear in the Star TribuneHealthDay and MedPage Today.

Gretchen Cutler, MD, is a scientific investigator for the Center for Acute Care Outcomes and Anupam Kharbanda, MD, is an emergency department physician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

“Children’s Pedcast”: Car seat safety with Dex Tuttle


subscribe_blogDex Tuttle, Children’s injury prevention program coordinator, answers questions about car seat safety and provides information about rear-, front-facing and booster seats; the factors that go into choosing the proper car seat for your child and vehicle, as well as how to properly install a child safety seat.

Children’s is sponsoring a car seat checkup at the Roseville Fire Station (2701 Lexington Ave. N.) from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday (June 20). The event is free, but you must schedule an appointment. To schedule a car seat check, please contact Esther DeLaCruz at (651) 207-2008 or [email protected]

“Children’s Pedcast” can be heard on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, YouTube and Vimeo.

“Children’s Pedcast”: Dr. Rachel Miller on pediatric gynecology

subscribe_blogDr. Rachel Miller, one of two pediatric gynecologists — the only two in the Twin Cities — at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, joins the show to talk about how girls benefit from visiting a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist, the different reasons for why she sees patients, and the differences between pediatric and adult gynecological exams.

“Children’s Pedcast” can be heard on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, YouTube and Vimeo.

Trauma 101: What it means to be a Level I pediatric trauma center

Our pediatric specialists in Minneapolis are on site, not on call, so they can get to children immediately.

Children’s pediatric specialists in Minneapolis are on site, not on call, so they can get to children immediately.

On the surface, it may be difficult to distinguish one hospital from another. Each one has doctors, nurses and operating rooms. Every place has an emergency room, and all ERs are the same, right?

Not exactly.

So then what does it mean when you’re told that Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has a Level I pediatric trauma center in Minneapolis?

Established in June 2013, Children’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in Minneapolis received the American College of Surgeons’ verification by meeting the highest standards of expertise and level of preparation to care for critically injured children, which increases Children’s commitment to families throughout the region. Children’s – Minneapolis was designated by the Minnesota Department of Health as the first and only pediatric-only hospital in the state with ACS Level I recognition.

Children’s can accept injured kids directly from the site of the traumatic injury via ambulance or helicopter instead of being transferred from another hospital after being stabilized.

Children’s can accept injured kids directly from the site of the traumatic injury via ambulance or helicopter instead of being transferred from another hospital after being stabilized.

Trauma

Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in children. The first hour after an accident, the golden hour, is critical. Children’s can accept injured kids directly from the site of the traumatic injury via ambulance or helicopter instead of being transferred from another hospital after being stabilized.

Children’s – Minneapolis’ transformation from Level III status to Level I took three years, a process that was sped up with help of $17.5 million grant and ongoing philanthropic partnership from Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, in 2010, making the UnitedHealthcare Pediatric Emergency Department and Level I Trauma Center a reality.

The emergency department at Children’s – St. Paul, which is Level III, has been renovated, and its staff go through the same training as those in Minneapolis.

At its Minneapolis and St. Paul hospitals, Children’s receives more than 90,000 visits annually and treats nearly 40 percent of Twin Cities pediatric trauma cases.

At its Minneapolis and St. Paul hospitals, Children’s receives more than 90,000 visits annually and treats nearly 40 percent of Twin Cities pediatric trauma cases.

Level I standards

At its Minneapolis and St. Paul hospitals, Children’s receives more than 90,000 visits annually and treats nearly 40 percent of Twin Cities pediatric trauma cases. When it comes to ACS-verified Level I attributes, Children’s has:

  • More than 150 emergency department staff, including board-eligible or board-certified pediatric emergency physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and more
  • 24/7 in-house pediatric trauma surgeon; Children’s pediatric specialists in Minneapolis are on site, not on call, so they can get to kids immediately
  • Two large trauma bays, resuscitation rooms, a helipad and dedicated orthopedic room for fractures, featuring advanced X-ray capabilities
  • Research programs and performance improvement efforts to ensure that each patient experience leads to the best possible outcome
  • Injury prevention efforts such as Making Safe Simple, Children’s public education program designed to arm the community with basic safety and injury prevention tips

subscribe_blogPlan for the unplanned

You plan everything out for your kids (classes, camps and nutrition). It’s important to have a plan in case they’re in a serious accident. If your child has an emergency, know where to go. Program Children’s ER contact information into your phone. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota are located in Minneapolis (2525 Chicago Ave. S.) and St. Paul (345 N. Smith Ave.)

When it’s critical, so is your choice — Children’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, Minneapolis.

Surgery for ear tubes common for kids

Lindsey Starsky's children, daughter Margie Claire (left), 4, and son Lewis, 10 months, had ear-tubes surgeries at Children's. (Photos courtesy of Lindsey Starsky)

Lindsey Starsky’s children, daughter Margie Claire (left), 4, and son Lewis, 10 months, had ear-tubes surgeries at Children’s. (Photos courtesy of Lindsey Starsky)

Lindsey Starsky knew exactly what to expect when her 10-month-old son, Lewis, underwent surgery for ear tubes earlier this year. Starsky’s oldest child, daughter Margie Claire, had gone through the same process not long ago.

Both kids had ear tubes put in by Barbara Malone, MD, at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Dr. Malone is a pediatric otolaryngologist, which means she specializes in ear, nose and throat (ENT) care.

“Children’s was very accommodating and great with the kids,” said Starsky, who was referred to Dr. Malone through her kids’ primary pediatrician. “Child life specialists were brought in to introduce what was going to be happening.”

Every year, more than 500,000 kids receive ear tubes, making it the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Of children who have tubes, 80 percent will need them once, said Dr. Malone.

Lewis

Lewis had surgery for ear tubes, just like his sister.

Reasons for ear tubes

The two primary reasons kids need ear tubes are:

  • The recurrence of middle-ear infections
  • Persistent fluid in the ear, which usually creates hearing loss

Ages for ear tubes

The two most common ages kids need ear tubes are between:

  • 15 months and 3 years (usually due to ear infections)
  • 4 and 6 years (typically due to hearing loss from fluid buildup)

What are tubes? How do they work?

There are many different types of ear tubes. Two of the major types are grommets and T-tubes.

The grommet naturally falls out in six months to two years, on average. While it’s inside, it will allow the middle ear to maintain barometric pressure to help decrease rates of infection and fluid production.

The T-tube is shaped like it sounds; it has flanges that open behind the eardrum and remains in the ear indefinitely. T-tubes commonly are used for kids who have required multiple sets of tubes or have an anatomic predisposition to prolonged Eustachian-tube dysfunction, which has been seen in kids with Down syndrome or cleft palate, according to Dr. Malone.

Fluid can be trapped behind the eardrum. The human body’s Eustachian tube — named after 16th-century anatomist Bartolomeo Eustachi — typically works by allowing air in and fluid to drain out. If the tube can’t open, fluid can’t get out, leading to an infection or hearing loss — or both. Tubes allow the fluid to drain.

subscribe_blogDetermining a need for tubes

If you have concerns about your child’s recurrent ear infections or hearing, talk to your child’s doctor. Primary care physicians will refer your child to an ENT doctor when and if they think your child is a candidate for ear tubes. Hearing also should be evaluated, Dr. Malone said.

What to expect if your child needs ear tubes

If your child is referred to an ENT who decides ear tubes is the next step, the procedure is an outpatient visit, unless combined with another medical procedure that requires a hospital stay.

“When my daughter got tubes the first time (at 8 months), it was a fast procedure. By the time I got back to my waiting room it was less than five minutes and Dr. Malone was back,” said Starsky, whose daughter needed two procedures, the second one at age 2 to remove adenoids, a mass of soft tissue behind the nasal cavity. “The second time was a little bit longer. Dr. Malone walked us through everything and had given us information to read about what to expect; it was even easier when we had to bring in Lewis.”

Typically kids are back to themselves within the same day and don’t notice the tubes in their ears aside from better hearing and fewer ear infections. Starsky said Margie Claire’s hearing and sleep improved immediately, and trips to the doctor for ear trouble no longer are a regular occurrence.

“Being at Children’s was great,” Starsky said. “If we had to do it again, we’d go back and through the whole process.”

The ‘funnest’ place in the hospital

Grace Vokaty loves the Child Life Zone at Children's — St. Paul.

Grace Vokaty loves the Child Life Zone at Children’s — St. Paul.

Grace Vokaty

When I was 7 years old, I came to Children’s – St. Paul because I had type 1 diabetes. When I was in the hospital, I was sad because there isn’t a cure for my disease. But then I was invited to visit the Child Life Zone, which was made possible by Mr. Garth Brooks and his friends at Teammates for Kids. The Zone is so fun, and now whenever I see the doctor, I tell my parents that we have to stop and play.

subscribe_blogI enjoy coloring and painting, air hockey, video games, the photo booth and lots of other stuff. I like that it’s a fun place to go while I’m at the hospital. And when I’m not feeling happy, it cheers me up.

Plus it’s nice to meet other kids like me who are patients, too. Even my parents enjoy it because I can play there while they are taking classes and learning how they can help me with my diabetes.

In November, I had the chance to meet Mr. Brooks and to tell him thank you for building the Child Life Zone. I told him that it is the “funnest” place I have ever been and that he did a really great job. It makes me happy to know that people from all over care about kids at Children’s, and I hope that when other kids go there it makes them smile.

Grace Vokaty is a patient at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

“Children’s Pedcast”: Dr. Doug Hyder on headache management

Doug Hyder, MD, medical director of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, provides information about headaches, including the symptoms, how they originate, how they’re connected to our activities and different from migraines, and how they can be managed.

“Children’s Pedcast” can be heard on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, YouTube and Vimeo.

Coordinated care with heart

Sam and Stacey Schumann

Sam Schumann, pictured with his mother, Stacey, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Stacey Schumann

I was 20 weeks’ pregnant when my husband and I learned that our son, Sam, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) — a severe heart defect. As parents, we were devastated that our child may not make it to his birth, and if he did, may not have the best life after he was born.

subscribe_blogBut Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota calmed so many of our fears. Sam’s care team, including a pediatric cardiologist, perinatal physicians and nurses, surgeon, and many more have been with us since the beginning, helping us navigate this scary diagnosis. And every time Sam has undergone an open heart surgery — five so far, each represented by a heart on his monkey — we’ve found great comfort in his team’s extensive work with HLHS, knowing that they have been at the forefront of ways to treat this complicated condition.

By working together, our team has made our visits to Children’s better than expected. They’ve empowered us to be part of Sam’s care, and we are able to influence important decisions that have ultimately helped him feel better. I am amazed that everyone has said how grateful they are to help Sam, but I don’t think they realize how amazing they are and how grateful we are for them. They have given our son his life; they have helped us be a family.

Stacey Schumann is the mother of Children’s patient Sam Schumann.