Category Archives: News

Consequences of vitamin K refusal at birth devastating, irreversible

Lisa Irvin, MD

In the past few years, there has been an increase in parents refusing to have their children receive the vitamin K shot at birth. The result of this trend has been an increase in cases of vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB).

Lisa Irvin, MD, is pediatrician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Lisa Irvin, MD, is pediatrician at Partners in Pediatrics.

Reasons usually cited for refusal are a fear of pain or stress for the baby due to the shot, or increased risk of leukemia. Many studies show there is no increased risk of leukemia, and the pain is minimal and brief.

Vitamin K is needed by our bodies for blood clotting. We’re born with blood-clotting factors, but vitamin K is needed for activation. Older kids and adults make vitamin K from the bacteria in their gut and from their diet.

Newborns, however, are born with little vitamin K, and fewer clotting factors than adults. Vitamin K doesn’t cross the placenta, and newborns don’t have bacteria in their gut yet to make it. Breast milk has low levels of vitamin K, so breastfed babies have low levels of the vitamin for a few weeks. Newborns are given vitamin K immediately following birth to activate these clotting factors and prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, or VKDB. 

The 3 types VKDB 

  • The early type occurs in the first 24 hours and is uncommon. It usually is the result of the mother taking medication that interferes with vitamin K.
  • The classical type occurs between the second and seventh days of life, when vitamin K levels are the lowest in a newborn. Bleeding occurs most commonly in the intestines, umbilical cord, skin, nose, and circumcision site.
  • Late VKDB occurs when the infant is 3-8 weeks old and happens only in breastfed infants. These bleeds typically occur in the brain, intestines and skin. If bleeding occurs in the brain, the mortality rate can be as high as 20 percent.

subscribe_blogThe risks of VKDB are real and serious if vitamin K is declined at birth. Although it’s not a common event, the outcome can be devastating and irreversible. It’s preventable with one dose of intramuscular vitamin K at birth.

There are oral preparations of vitamin K that can be given, but because the absorption and compliance are variable, the recommendation for all infants is to receive the intramuscular dose.

Lisa Irvin, MD, is pediatrician at Partners in Pediatrics.

Children’s Susan Sencer named Top Cancer Doctor by Newsweek

Dr. Susan Sencer

Dr. Susan Sencer has been part of Children’s hematology/oncology program for 25 years.

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota congratulates Dr. Susan Sencer for her recognition as a “Top Cancer Doctors 2015” by Newsweek.

Dr. Sencer has been part of Children’s hematology/oncology program, the largest in the Upper Midwest, for 25 years. She has been the program’s medical director for the past 12 years. Dr. Sencer has a special interest in complementary and alternative therapies and has been instrumental in founding the integrative medicine and pain and palliative care programs at Children’s.

Dr. Sencer was one of 55 doctors in Minnesota named to the list, which is published by Newsweek in conjunction with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The list was compiled through peer nominations and extensive research led by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. of nearly 100,000 nominations.

On behalf of Children’s, and our patients and families, we are proud to congratulate Dr. Sencer on this accomplishment.

Tell us why your child’s school year will be amazing

Share a picture of your child's first day of school, and he or she could be our Student of the Day.

Share a picture of your child’s first day of school, and he or she could be our Student of the Day and featured on our Facebook cover image.

For kids and parents, the first day of school is one of the most amazing days of the year. It’s the day when we all dream about the year ahead, about what kids will learn and experience. On our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram, share with us a photo of your child going back to school, along with their grade, let us know why this school year will be amazing, and he or she could be featured on our Facebook cover image as the Student of the Day.

Click on, save and print out our school year signs below and snap a photo of your child on the first day of school. Then share! #Back2School

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Washburn Games allow kids to try multiple sports

Boy-with-soccerChildren’s is a proud sponsor of the Washburn Games, a non-competitive sports sampler for kids ages 4-12. Enjoy quality time with your family and help your child give back to the community.

Kids can try out rugby, soccer, lacrosse, cricket, karate, yoga and more to discover their favorite sport — before you sign them up for a season they don’t like! The event raises money for Washburn Center for Children, a Twin Cities nonprofit offering therapeutic care to kids struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.

All participants receive a T-shirt, medal and goodie bag. Plus, there’s a chance to win a $1,000 educational scholarship.

subscribe_blogWhat: Washburn Games

When: 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27

Where: Bryn Mawr Meadows, 601 Morgan Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: $10 registration fee

Registration: Visit washburngames.org to register.

View the flyer for more information.

Cancer survivor uses wish to serve food to others

Lucas Hobbs, 12, of Eagan, Minn., used his Make-A-Wish to serve food to others with the help of food trucks.

Lucas Hobbs, 12, of Eagan, Minn., used his Make-A-Wish to serve food to others with the help of food trucks. He and four food trucks served food to patients, families and staff at Children’s – Minneapolis on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015.

Jimmy Bellamy

Seven months ago, Lucas Hobbs was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and spending nights at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s Minneapolis hospital. Today the 12-year-old Eagan boy is in remission and giving back to those who cared for him while he wasn’t feeling well.

Lucas received the chance to have one wish granted through Make-A-Wish Minnesota, but instead of choosing something solely to satisfy himself he used his wish to feed others with food trucks.

When he made the wish, Lucas said he wasn’t quite sure how it would work. How would he do all of this with one food truck? Make-A-Wish Minnesota went to work and partnered with nine food trucks for six separate food events.

On Monday afternoon, Lucas and four trucks — Kona Ice, The Moral Omnivore, O’Cheeze and R.A. MacSammy’s — visited Children’s – Minneapolis and served food to patients, families and staff for four hours, including a stop on the seventh floor for the cancer team and patients. Menu items included a mac-and-cheese dish named after Star Studio star “The Dude” and a hot dog named after Dr. Joanna Perkins, Lucas’ oncologist.

“She’s just a really great doctor,” Lucas said.

Patients, families and staff gather outside Children's – Minneapolis for Lucas Hobbs' Make-A-Wish food truck event Monday, Aug. 3, 2015.

Patients, families and staff gather outside Children’s – Minneapolis for Lucas Hobbs’ Make-A-Wish food truck event Monday, Aug. 3, 2015.

The wish was inspired by Lucas’ love of food and cooking, the generosity people showed him and his family by bringing them food when he wasn’t well and the movie “Chef,” the uplifting Jon Favreau film about a chef who buys a food truck and works alongside his young son.

subscribe_blogLucas’ food truck tour has included stops at:

  • O’Leary Manor and Lakeside Pointe senior living centers in Eagan (where his grandma resides)
  • The Minneapolis Police Department (Lucas says police can be underappreciated sometimes and he would like to be a police officer when he’s an adult.)
  • John Neumann Church in Eagan (his family’s church)

He and the food trucks will close out the Make-A-Wish tour with events at a homeless shelter and his school.


Follow Chef Lucas on Twitter and Facebook. Jimmy Bellamy is the social media specialist at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

National Night Out promotes neighborhood safety

Communities across the United States will gather today to celebrate National Night Out, an evening dedicated to strengthening communities and promoting safer streets. While your local barbecue or block party is a great time to reconnect with your neighbors and enjoy a potluck, it’s also a great opportunity to review home and neighborhood safety tips with your children. Here are five quick tips to bring up with your kids during your neighborhood event this week.

1. Post important personal and contact information in a central place in your home.

  • Include parents’ names, street address, mobile, home and work phone numbers, 911, poison control, fire department, police department, and helpful neighbors.
  • Use a neighborhood party to help children to familiarize themselves with their neighbors and identify whom they can go to for help.

2. Teach your child how and when to call 911.

  • Discuss specifics of what an emergency is and when 911 should be used.
  • Role play different scenarios and make sure kids know what information to give to the 911 operator.
  • For younger kids, discuss the different roles of emergency workers and what they do.

3. Discuss “stranger danger.”

  • Talk with your kids about who is allowed to pick them up from school or activities.
  • Talk to your kids about the importance of walking in pairs.
  • Ensure they always take the same route home from school and do not take shortcuts.

4. Practice proper street safety.

  • Have children practice looking both ways before stepping into the street, using the crosswalk and obeying the walk/don’t walk signals.
  • Teach kids what different road signs mean, such as a stop sign.
  • Remind children about the importance of biking with a helmet and reflective light.

5. Talk to your children about fire safety.

  • If fire trucks are present at the neighborhood party, use their presence as an opportunity to discuss what to do if there were a fire.
  • Plan and practice escape routes in your home and designate a meeting spot in case you get separated.

Children’s will join our neighbors in Minneapolis at the Phillips West neighborhood’s National Night Out block party from 5-8 p.m., along 27th Street between Columbus and Portland avenues. All are welcome to attend the evening of food, entertainment and kids’ activities, including the Children’s Making Safe Simple booth, where we’ll play games and give away prizes. We hope to see you there!

Switchfoot visit patients, perform songs at Children’s – Minneapolis

Switchfoot are (from left) Chad Butler, Tim Foreman, Jon Foreman, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley.

Switchfoot are (from left) Chad Butler, Tim Foreman, Jon Foreman, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. The San Diego, Calif., rock band performed songs and played BINGO at Star Studio.

Rock band Switchfoot​ — Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley — visited Star Studio and patients at Children’s – Minneapolis on Friday.

The San Diego, Calif., quintet spent the morning and afternoon playing music, BINGO and visiting patients and families in Star Studio, Children’s in-house TV studio, before their show later that night in Minneapolis. The band signed autographs, posed for photos and played songs in individual patient rooms.

“Hello Hurricane” — Switchfoot, live from Star Studio at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Children’s patient surprised with tickets to One Direction concert in Minneapolis

Angelina (right) and best friend Samantha were surprised with tickets to the One Direction show in Minneapolis.

Angelina (right) and best friend Samantha were surprised with tickets to the One Direction show in Minneapolis.

Thirteen-year-old Angelina received a surprise this week during what she thought was a regular tour of the WCCO-TV studio.

The Children’s patient who battles a chronic lung disease was the recipient of a generous gift from a Twin Cities family. The father of the family bought four tickets as a Christmas gift for his two daughters, but a scheduling conflict made the family’s attendance at the show not possible.

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WCCO-TV: These One Direction fans get a huge surprise

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Instead of selling the tickets, the man enlisted the help of WCCO, which identified Angelina, who was featured earlier this year as one of “Kylie’s Kids,” a segment with WCCO’s Kylie Bearse that highlights a children’s hospital patient. The tickets, and $200 to spend on anything in preparation for the concert, were donated to Angelina and her best friend, Samantha. The pair were surprised on the TV station’s rooftop at the end of the tour.

Children’s patient surprised with One Direction concert tickets in Minneapolis from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

German man biking from Pacific to Atlantic oceans visits Minneapolis

German cyclist Jörg Richter is biking from Washington to Connecticut to raise awareness of rare pediatric illnesses.

German cyclist Jörg Richter is biking from Washington to Connecticut to raise awareness of rare pediatric illnesses.

subscribe_blogErin Keifenheim

The Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic at Children’s – Minneapolis received a special visit today from Jörg Richter, a German cyclist who is biking from Washington to Connecticut to raise awareness of rare pediatric illnesses. Richter, who works for German health care insurance agency AOK, took a leave from his job to make the 4,000-plus mile journey across the country. He set out in early June, marking the start of his journey by dipping the rear wheel of his bike in the Pacific Ocean near Seattle. Throughout the next month, he traveled through Idaho, Montana and North Dakota before reaching the Twin Cities on July 20.

Richter has been an active cyclist for many years and first had the inspiration to cycle around the world when he was 8 years old. Now at age 55, he decided to cross the item off his bucket list when two close friends died unexpectedly.

Children's oncologist Joanna Perkins , MD (left), and Jörg Richter stand outside the Children's Speciality Center in Minneapolis.

Children’s oncologist Joanna Perkins, MD (left), and Jörg Richter stand outside the Children’s Speciality Center in Minneapolis.

“I decided that was the moment to get it done and not put off my dream,” Richter said. “So many kids and adults aren’t able to fulfill their dreams because of their diseases.” Richter said he hopes his trip will help give children with rare diseases a better chance to fulfill their dreams.

Throughout his journey, Richter has enjoyed the scenery and wildlife he has encountered — including a roadside visit from a bear in the Cascade Mountains. But the most enjoyable part of his trip has been the people he has encountered and the hospitality he has been shown.

“I’m always meeting people who welcome me and invite me to stay,” he said. Complete strangers have stopped him along his route to talk about the Bavarian flag on the back of his bike; others have donated to his cause, paid for his meals or helped him find lodging. All have been supportive of his goal to raise $20,000 for the Care-for-Rare Foundation, which reached out to Children’s to arrange the special visit.

Richter expects to make it to his final destination in Connecticut by Sept. 7, with stops along the way in Chicago, along the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. Once he reaches the East Coast, he’ll mark the end of his journey by dipping the front wheel of his bike in the Atlantic Ocean, completing his West-to-East Coast tour of the United States.

Richter has been documenting his journey on the AOK Facebook page.

Join Children’s for Family Fun Day at Peavey Park

The kids are on summer break. It’s warm outside. And now is the perfect time to celebrate! We invite you to join us for fun in the sun at Family Fun Day from 3-7 p.m. July 23 at Peavey Park in Minneapolis. We’re making safety fun and simple for the whole family.

Peavey Park will be filled with fun and friends. You can meet therapy dogs, police horses, learn hands-only CPR and more. The pool and park will be open as usual. When you visit our different activities, you can win a prize and free food (while it lasts) from Café Racer and Mik Mart Ice Cream.

Rain or shine, the event will go on — we hope to see you there!

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FAMILY FUN DAY: RSVP on Facebook

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Here’s where to find us:

Peavey Park, located at 730 E. 22nd St., between Park Avenue South and Chicago Avenue, is the perfect spot to gather all of the neighbors and families in the area (click the map below to get directions).

Working together for healthy kids and healthy communities 

subscribe_blogAt Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, we’ve been working with the Minneapolis Police Department Bike Cops over the past four years to share bike safety information with neighborhood residents throughout Minneapolis. Each year, they celebrate the partnership with a summer event.

This year, we’re living Children’s values by joining together with community partners to extend our reach. After teaming up with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, we wanted to create an event to support and celebrate with our local community in the Phillips neighborhood and remind families of some ways to stay safe and prevent injuries while enjoying the summer.

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