Category Archives: News

Join Children’s trauma expert for Twitter chat

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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 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”: 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.

Kangaroo Care a tranquil experience for parent, child

Newborn Azarias has skin-to-skin contact with his mother, Veronica Engel, as part of a Kangaroo Care exercise. May 15 is International Kangaroo Care Day.

This month, the Neonatal units in St. Paul and Minneapolis are celebrating the importance of Kangaroo Care, a technique where an infant is held skin to skin with mom or dad. Kangaroo Care promotes bonding, provides comfort for the baby and parent and has potential to improve a baby’s medical condition. In honor of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, May 15, a mother shares her experience holding her newborn son skin to skin.

Veronica Engel of Chippewa Falls, Wis., holds newborn son Azarias skin to skin as part of Kangaroo Care.

Veronica Engel

My husband and I found out at my 10-week ultrasound that we were having a baby boy, but we also found out that our son, Azarias, had a birth defect called gastroschisis.

Due to his condition, doctors informed me that I wouldn’t be able to hold Azarias until after his surgery. This had me worried because I was afraid of missing out on that special bonding time that you immediately have with your newborn. When he was born, I was able to put him on my chest momentarily but then he had to be rushed off in an isolette to be prepared for his stay at the hospital until the doctors could perform the surgery he needed.  He was staying in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s – St. Paul, which has private rooms. I am grateful for this because it allowed me to stay in the room with him around the clock.

subscribe_blogI wasn’t able to hold him for the first week of his life due to his condition; however, I was able to hold his hands and feet or rub his head. After his surgery, I was able to hold him the next day. This was special because I got to hold him skin to skin; I held him for three hours straight. It was relaxing and soothing for both of us to be able to have this closeness, which we weren’t able to do at the beginning of his life. I continued to stay with Azarias in the NICU, and each day I would hold him once or twice using skin-to-skin – anywhere from an hour to three hours at a time.

The doctors told me that he was doing excellent for his condition. Not only was he gaining weight at a good pace, but he also was moving along quickly for what he was able to consume and digest.

When I’m holding Azarias skin to skin, I don’t even notice the time fly by; it’s such a relief to be able to help calm and comfort him just by this simple action. Kangaroo Care truly is a tranquil experience for parent and child and has helped us build a lasting bond with each other. I believe that being here and holding him skin to skin has made a difference in Azarias’ ability to recover and heal from this whole ordeal.

Children’s promotes “brain breaks” for kids in Minnesota schools

subscribe_blogNow there’s a way for kids to fit more fun into their school days. GoNoodle is a program that offers “brain breaks” to kids as part of their class curriculum. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota sponsors GoNoodle in 336 Twin Cities-area elementary schools.

According to GoNoodle, 84,874 students in Minnesota participated in GoNoodle activities for more than 3.5 million minutes in April.

Gigi Chawla, MD, Children’s senior medical director of primary care, joined WCCO Mid-Morning’s Kylie Bearse and Jason DeRusha to talk about the program and its benefits.

Twin Cities to celebrate its first 22q at the Zoo

Roya Kebriaei, 3, is the daughter of Meysam Kebriaei, MD, and Amy Kebriaei, DDS. (Photo courtesy of the Kebriaei family)

Roya Kebriaei, 3, is the daughter of Meysam Kebriaei, MD, and Amy Kebriaei, DDS. Roya was born with 22q, a chromosome deletion syndrome that can cause a wide range of recognizable health and developmental problems. (Photo courtesy of the Kebriaei family)

A little-known chromosome deletion syndrome called 22q will be the reason for an upcoming celebration in the Twin Cities. For the first time in Minneapolis-St. Paul, an official group will gather May 17 for “22q at the Zoo” in honor of 22q Worldwide Awareness Day.

Also known as velocardiofacial and DiGeorge syndrome, 22q is a genetic syndrome that can affect every system in the body and cause a wide range of recognizable health and developmental problems. Though little known in some circles, 22q is nearly as common as Down syndrome, affecting 1 in 2,000-4,000 children born, 1 in 68 kids born with heart disease and 5 percent to 8 percent of children with cleft palate.

subscribe_blogThe fifth annual worldwide event, which takes place each year on the third Sunday in May, will be officially recognized at the Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Boulevard in Apple Valley, one of more than 100 zoos worldwide participating. The event is scheduled for 1-2:30 p.m. and includes a kids’ party, networking for parents and a guest speaker.

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota pediatric neurosurgeon Meysam Kebriaei, MD, and his wife, Amy Kebriaei, DDS, established a local 22q support group made up of teams from Children’s, Gillette and University of Minnesota Masonic children’s hospitals. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Roya, was born with 22q.

RSVP to the event by contacting Amy Kebriaei at (218) 349-4050 or [email protected]. Go to 22q.org for more information and to order the official red 22q at the Zoo T-shirt. Proceeds benefit the International 22q Foundation.

Allergies in full swing in spring; asthma a year-round concern

Although allergies can develop at any age, they most commonly show up during childhood or early adulthood.

Winter exits, spring enters, and with it come irritants in the environment that can trigger allergies in children and adults. In the U.S. alone, more than 50 million people (1 in 5) are affected by allergies — which are caused by an overactive immune system — according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Allergies in springtime often are a trigger for asthma — May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — but asthma is a year-round concern for children, said Gigi Chawla, MD, Children’s senior medical director of primary care. Keeping refills for controller and rescue medications, especially with traveling, outings and school, up to date is important. Parents should ensure they’re making asthma checkups with their clinicians, at least yearly, in order to keep kids happy, healthy and under control.

Allergies and asthma are the most common chronic diseases among children in the U.S., according to the AAP. Many aspects of allergies, eczema and asthma are not fully understood. But advances in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders are helping millions of sufferers.

subscribe_blogWhat are allergies?

Many people mistakenly use the word “allergy” to refer to a disease or almost any unpleasant or adverse reaction. In reality, allergies are reactions that usually are caused by an overactive immune system. These reactions can occur in a variety of organs in the body, resulting in diseases such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Your immune system is made up of a number of different cells that come from organs throughout the body — principally bone marrow, the thymus gland, and a network of lymph nodes and lymph tissue scattered throughout the body, including the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, tonsils, and the adenoid (an olive-shaped structure that is located at the top of the throat behind the nose).

Normally, it’s the immune system that protects the body against disease by searching out and destroying foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. In an allergic reaction, the immune system overreacts and goes into action against a normally harmless substance, such as pollen or animal dander. These allergy provoking substances are called “allergens.”

Allergy symptoms for ear, nose, throat and mouth

  • Red, teary or itchy eyes
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose, nose rubbing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Nasal swelling and congestion
  • Itchy ear canals
  • Itching of the mouth and throat

Lungs

  • Hacking dry cough or cough that produces clear mucus
  • Wheezing (noisy breathing)
  • Feeling of tightness in the chest
  • Low exercise tolerance
  • Rapid breathing; shortness of breath

Skin

  • Eczema (patches of itchy, red skin rash)
  • Hives (welts)

Miscellaneous

  • Headache
  • Feelings of restlessness, irritability
  • Excessive fatigue

Where does asthma fit?

Although allergies can trigger asthma and asthma often is associated with allergies, they are two different things. In simple terms, asthma is a chronic condition originating in the lungs, whereas allergies describe reactions that originate in the immune system and can affect many organs, including the lungs. Many different substances and circumstances can trigger an asthma attack—exercise, exposure to cold air, a viral infection, air pollution, noxious fumes, tobacco smoke, and for many asthma sufferers, a host of allergens. In fact, about 80% of children with asthma also have allergies. Although allergies are important in triggering asthma, severe asthma exacerbations are often set off by the good old common cold virus, totally unrelated to allergy.

In the summertime, exercise and humidity often are triggers. In late summer-early fall, ragweed is a trigger. Come fall, weather changes and back-to-school exposure to illness can be a trigger for asthma exacerbation, and illness is the usual culprit in the winter.

Source: Guide to Your Child’s Allergies and Asthma (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Boy honors sister’s life through fundraising, head-shaving event

Brady German (right), of Bell Plaine, Minn., shaves his head annually at the St. Baldrick's Foundation's "Shave the Day" event at Children's in honor of his sister, Emma. Emma died in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She was 7. (Photo courtesy of the German family)

Brady German (right), of Belle Plaine, Minn., shaves his head annually at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s “Shave the Day” event at Children’s and raises money for cancer research in honor of his sister, Emma. Emma passed away in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She was 7. (Photo courtesy of the German family)

Emma German, of Belle Plaine, Minn., passed away in September, four years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Her brother, Brady, continues to raise money for cancer research and shave his head in her honor through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s annual “Shave the Day” event at Children’s – Minneapolis.

Brady Gervais

In the small town of Belle Plaine, Minn., everyone knows about Emma. A “girlie girl,” Emma was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2010 when she was 3. She loved fashion, sparkles, makeup and accessories. The more glitter, the better. She loved to dance and sing, play piano and do arts and crafts. She and her older brother, Brady, entertained their family with weekly skits and dances.

Emma was so adored that in 2013, she was invited to be a “celebrity shaver” at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event at Children’s that raises money for cancer research. While watching Emma shave heads, Brady was spurred to help, too. Emma’s doctor offered to donate to St. Baldrick’s if Brady became a shavee. He agreed and then challenged his mom to donate, too. Earlier that day, his mom had received an anonymous cash gift. She donated the money for the cause.

Later that night, Brady told his mom that he wouldn’t cut his hair until the following year, when people would shave the day again for St. Baldrick’s at Children’s. As his hair grew throughout 2013 and early 2014, people commented on his long locks. Whenever they did, Brady told them that he was raising money for pediatric cancer research, his sister was undergoing cancer treatment and he wanted to help kids like Emma get much-needed medicine. He raised more than $4,000.

Emma hugs big brother Brady shortly after she helped shave his head during the 2014 St. Baldrick's Day event.

Emma hugs big brother Brady shortly after she helped shave his head during the 2014 St. Baldrick’s Day event.

After spending four years in and out of the hospital, Emma passed away Sept. 24, 2014. She was 7. But her story doesn’t end there; it lives on in her big brother. This year, after Emma’s death, Brady has aspired to do much more.

“Brady loves and misses his little sister terribly, and it hurts him SO much to do this without her,” their mom, Keriann, said. “But raising money to help fund clinical trials that can hopefully help find treatments that can save other children battling cancer is a great way to honor someone we have lost to the disease.”

Brady recruited eight of his classmates from his fourth-grade class at Oak Crest Elementary and his favorite teacher, Mr. Don Fraser, to commit to shaving their heads and raising money, too. Brady named his team “Emma’s Acorns” — a tribute to his sister and school. He tells his friends that he wants to “help the doctors and scientists find better medicines for kids with cancer so that other kids don’t have to lose a brother or sister to cancer like he did.”

Brady (in green) recruited eight classmates and his teacher to raise money for cancer research and shave their heads this year. The group has raised more than $10,000.

Brady (in green) recruited eight classmates and his teacher to raise money for cancer research and shave their heads this year. The group, “Emma’s Acorns,” has raised more than $10,000.

subscribe_blogAt the St. Baldrick’s event at Children’s on Thursday, Brady’s friends will wear pink, a color they unanimously picked to honor Emma. Their moms will wear purple, another favorite of Emma’s. So far, Brady and his friends have raised more than $10,000. And each one has told Keriann that they plan to shave their heads and raise money annually to honor Emma.

“I know that Emma is the reason Brady is doing this,” Keriann said, “and his friends are proud to support him in his efforts to raise money and awareness of the importance of funding clinical trials for pediatric cancer.”

Learn more about how you can “Shave the Day” on Thursday.

Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer in the foundation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

St. Patrick’s festivities to alter traffic in St. Paul

subscribe_blogThose traveling to or near Children’s – St. Paul on Saturday and Tuesday are encouraged to allow extra time or find alternate routes that avoid the traffic from the LuckyPalooza (Saturday) and St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday) events.

LuckyPalooza will be held on West Seventh Street from 2-11 p.m. During that time, West Seventh Street will be closed between Walnut Street and Kellogg Boulevard for this event, which includes music, tent parties and a stunt-bike performance.

The St. Patrick’s Day celebration and parade on Tuesday is expected to draw many extra visitors to downtown and the area near the Children’s – St. Paul.