As we enter the new year, we invite you to look back at our most popular blog posts of 2014. They range from inspiring patient stories – a few submitted by our families themselves – to important health information.
We chose these stories based on page views. We hope you enjoy!
20. The big move of our smallest patients
Moving 12 medically fragile babies from a NICU in Youngstown to a new one in Boardman takes a great deal of planning and hard work. There were many meetings leading up to the big move, and when the day arrived, everyone did their part to make it a smooth transition for baby and their families.
19. The drama, trauma of a bad decision plays out at local high school
Students at Coventry High School stood on a hillside and watched a dramatization play out in front of them. With a bang and flash, tarps were removed to reveal a bloody crash scene. A Jeep and a sedan were mangled together. The driver of the sedan had been ejected and was sprawled on the hood of the Jeep. The crowd’s silence was pierced by moans from the survivors inside the cars. Within minutes, they heard sirens.
18. Measles: What you should know
A spate of measles cases in Ohio in the spring of 2014 heightened awareness about this acute respiratory illness and ways to prevent it. Measles are characterized by a fever, cough, rash, runny nose and pink eye. It can also cause severe illness and complications, including seizures, encephalitis (brain infection) and death. These complications are more common in children under 5 years of age and adults over 20.
17. Petie the Pony makes a day in the hospital much brighter for our patients and staff
With some heroic effort on the behalf of the staff at Victory Gallop, Petie the Pony makes weekly visits to Akron Children’s. Every ounce of energy expended to prepare the half miniature horse, half pony is paid off in smiles, giggles and parental gratitude. This 22-year-old animal wonder has achieved rock star status at the hospital since he began visiting patients in 1997. He can’t even make it 50 yards from his horse trailer to the main entrance without stopping for pictures with staff members and patient families.
16. Abby’s story: Looking back at 5 years of change, hope and healing
Within a weekend, my daughter went from an active high school senior to being diagnosed with a rare and serious disorder in 2009. As captain of the soccer team, student council president, and a participant of many other school activities, Abby was always on the go with lots of energy. But suddenly, simple tasks became hard for her. She was hit with uncontrollable headaches and severe fatigue.
15. Cancer survivors experience A Prom to Remember
The rain didn’t dampen the excitement of 75 young men and women as they made their way to limos parked outside Akron Children’s Hospital. They were headed to downtown Cleveland and A Prom to Remember, an annual event for pediatric cancer patients from Akron Children’s, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic and their guests.
14. Uncovering the mystery: Toddler diagnosed with rare muscular disorder
If anyone needs an example of resilience, they need to look no further than 2-year-old Jack Lee. Jack arrived at Akron Children’s neonatal intensive care unit on Oct. 4, 2011 – 7 weeks premature and struggling to breathe. While many premature infants experience breathing difficulties from undeveloped lungs, doctors grew concerned that his condition was much more serious after observing that he rarely moved inside his incubator.
13. Meet the Kneppers: Settling in to a new family routine
Like many young couples, Mark and Jennifer Knepper, of Streetsboro, looked forward to starting a family. When their first child, Olivia, was about 1 year old, they found out Jennifer was pregnant with identical twin girls. This pregnancy, however, did not go smoothly. Jennifer developed pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous complication of pregnancy, and was hospitalized at 31 weeks.
12. Don’t let bedbugs hitch a ride home with you
If you’re planning a summer vacation the last thing you want to do is bring unwelcome guests home with you, especially ones that bite.
Some hotels and motels are crawling – literally – with bedbugs. So what can you do to protect your family? First of all, research the place you’re thinking about staying. If an online search turns up a history of bedbug problems, choose another place to stay. Even if your online sleuthing doesn’t uncover anything suspicious, don’t assume all is OK.
11. EarWell mold helps correct newborn’s congenital ear deformity
When the pediatrician told Jen and Matt Adams that their infant daughter’s ear had a congenital deformity, there was never a question of getting it fixed. “I don’t want her to be self conscious when she grows up,” said Jen, a mental health counselor from Meadville, Pa. “I don’t want her to worry about pulling her hair back when she gets older.”
10. Akron Children’s sees rise in respiratory infections
A spike in acute respiratory illness in children seems to be coinciding with the back-to-school season. Ohio and 9 other states reported an unusual number of cases of acute respiratory tract infections, particularly the strain identified as Human Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Enteroviruses – there are more than 100 types – are very common viruses with most people having only mild illness. The typical season for infection is late summer and fall.
9. A new surprise: Being admitted in the PICU
I never thought the morning I brought my daughter to Akron Children’s ER that I would still be sitting here in the hospital, 31 days later. The first week of May I started to notice some signs that concerned me. Harper was paler than normal, coughing, but not a sick cough, and didn’t seem like herself. I called her cardiologist to get his opinion. He said it sounded like her failure was getting worse, which was expected. He wanted her cough checked out to make sure nothing else was going on.
8. The New Yorker article shines spotlight on pediatric palliative care
The Jan. 20 issue of The New Yorker magazine includes an article about pediatric palliative care, for which Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of Akron Children’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center, was interviewed. Pediatric palliative care, often confused with hospice, is a relatively new medical specialty that aims to help children who suffer from life-threatening or complex illnesses and their families.
7. Ebola: what you need to know
When news reports linked northeast Ohio and Summit County to the Ebola virus situation in October, Akron Children’s worked closely with other hospitals and health officials including Summit County Public Health to be prepared for possible Ebola patients. Fortunately, the Ebola virus is not an overly contagious disease, but it is deadly and that’s what worries people. Taking time to understand the facts about Ebola can help ease concerns.
6. NICU nurse reunited with a patient after 23 years
Denise Mitchell was about 6 months pregnant when she began having complications during her pregnancy. A visit to the doctor led her to be diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening condition to both mother and baby. Her son, Kevin, was born 3 months premature, weighing 2 lbs, 2 oz. He spent the next 3 months in Akron Children’s NICU. Fast-forward to today: Kevin is in his last year of graduate school at Ohio Northern University, studying to become a pharmacist. He already accepted a position at CVS Pharmacy upon graduation in May.
5. Unexpected journey begins after newborn daughter is diagnosed with Down syndrome and heart defect
As March 3 quickly approached, I prepared my 1st grade classroom at Walker Elementary School in Canton for my long-term substitute. My husband, Aaron, a sergeant in the Ohio National Guard, prepared his tasks for the 2 weeks he’d be out. My 2-year-old son, Landon, and 8-year-old stepdaughter, Kaitlyn, ran around with excitement as the arrival of their little sister grew closer. Shortly after my C-section, I knew something was wrong when I heard the doctor call for a NICU doctor.
4. Calling young athletes: Lace up and take a stand against childhood cancer
Kameryn Zingale is excited about her fall soccer season at Archbishop Hoban High School. She is young and healthy, but knows that not all kids are as fortunate. That’s why she’s “lacing up” against childhood cancer by sporting special gold laces in her soccer cleats. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and young athletes across the country are showing their support of kids touched by cancer by wearing these special laces.
3. Bigger than stranger danger: Social media and teens
Back in the simple days, there were only a few social media sites. MySpace, Facebook and blogs began the phenomenon with teens and college students. Twitter quickly joined the fold. But then parents, and even grandparents, began joining Facebook. MySpace profiles were forgotten. Blogs were left unwritten because no one read them anymore. Twitter was overrun with businesses and promotions. Where were the teens to go?
2. Akron Children’s cares for second set of mono mono twins in same week
What are the chances of seeing 2 sets of mono mono twins in one week in the same NICU? There’s only a 1 in 10,000 chance that a woman will become pregnant with monoamniotic twins, a condition where twins share the same amniotic sack. So it’s almost a statistical impossibility to have 2 sets of monoamniotic twins residing in the NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital.
1. Middle school math teacher experiences love squared this Mother’s Day with mono mono twins
After 57 days on bedrest, Sarah Thistlethwaite finally earned her second and third set of motherhood wings May 9, 2014, just in time for Mother’s Day. Just do the math and you’ll see why she’s thrilled to be looking back on a 2-month hospitalization. She’s been anchored to fetal monitors 20 hours a day since March 14, which, like any good math teacher knows, is also Pi Day (pi day). Her stint on the labor and delivery floor at Akron General Medical Center began shortly after Sarah and her husband, Bill, discovered she was pregnant with monoamniotic twins, a rare condition where the twins share an amniotic sack.