DiversityNursing Blog

Boy Struck by Lightning Leaves Hospital in Time for Christmas

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

By SYDNEY LUPKIN

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What does a 9-year-old want after being struck by lightning and forced to spend three months in the hospital? He wants to cuddle his dog and set up his family's Christmas tree.

"He made me do it the first day I was home on Friday," the boy's father, Roger Hermann, told ABC News. "He can't move his legs, but he was directing some of the ornament placement."

Alex Hermann was on a soccer field in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 26, when a bolt of lightning struck him and stopped his heart. He suffered burn wounds and hypoxia, which is when the brain can't get enough oxygen.

Over the next three months, Alex underwent skin-grafting and wound-closure surgeries, as well as cardiac ablation, which corrects heart arrhythmias, at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. He still has a "number of issues" to address over time, but he's improving.

Although the hospital staff was great, Hermann said, Alex became homesick. Hermann added that he and Alex's mother promised that if he worked hard in therapy, they would try to get him home for Christmas.

Alex was also reunited with his beloved dog, a Catahoula Australian shepherd named Spice, who seemed pleased to have her buddy back.

"She sleeps on the bed with him," Hermann said. "She’s been guarding him."

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

Topics: child, lightning, health, healthcare, nurses, medical, hospital, treatment, surgeries, Christmas

Toddler giggles when implant lets him hear mom's voice for the first time

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 15, 2014 @ 04:41 PM

By Terri Peters

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When 2-year-old Ryan Aprea had cochlear implant surgery in November, his mom, Jennifer, says she wasn’t sure what to expect when the device was activated a month later.

Aprea shared the moment last week in a video that has now gone viral. In the clip, the Huntington Beach, California, mom says, “Hi, Buddy,” to her son, and is rewarded with a reaction she calls “amazing” — a fit of giggles from her little boy.

Born as a micro preemie at only 25 weeks gestation, Aprea says Ryan began his life with a seven-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, where she and her husband learned that he was deaf shortly before his discharge.

But a cochlear implant offered hope.



 

“We went into the appointment not knowing if he would respond at all. Throughout this process, they had informed us that while sound would enter his brain, every child has a different response. We weren’t sure if his brain would process the sound, but we wanted to give him a chance to hear us and communicate because he is also visually impaired,” said Aprea.

Aprea, who has posted frequently about the cochlear implant process on the Facebook page of her cloth diaper supply company, tells TODAY Parents that since the activation, Ryan has been doing great — exploring toys that make sounds for the first time and taking in his surroundings with his newfound ability to hear.

“He’s been interacting with us and giving us more intentional eye contact just in the few days since he’s had it turned on. My heart melts every single time he looks at me,” said Aprea.

As for future plans for Ryan’s treatment, Aprea says she and her family are taking things one day at a time. The mother of two says she’s looking forward to taking her son for a drive to look at holiday lights while listening to Christmas music — a tradition her family shares every year, but one that will have new meaning this season.

Aprea says she is shocked that her video has gone viral, adding that she looks forward to seeing more people learn about cochlear implants as videos and articles about stories like Ryan’s become more prevalent.

She’s heard a lot of strong opinions about cochlear implants from online commenters — including some negative ones — and offers some advice to parents dealing with big decisions about their child’s health care.

“You know your child better than anyone — I learned that one in the NICU. You need to do what’s best for him or her and give them every opportunity available to succeed in life. I would say, do a lot of research, talk to people who have been through it with their own kids, and then go with your heart,” she said.

Source: www.today.com

Topics: ICU, child, deaf, hearing, cochlear implant, first time, technology, nurses, doctors, medical, hospital, patient

'Bald' Cinderella Shows Girl With Leukemia You Can Be 'Perfect' With Or Without Hair

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 15, 2014 @ 04:25 PM

By Kimberly Yam

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This little girl received a boost of confidence from a Disney princess that made her feel like she was in a fairy tale.

Isabella Harvey, 5, of Staten Island, New York, was first diagnosed with leukemia in January 2013, and while she went into remission for over a year, she relapsed this September and needed aggressive chemotherapy. The 5-year-old's hair began falling out, making her upset at her appearance.

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"She was embarrassed," Isabella's mother, Pina told The Huffington Post in an email. "When her hair fell out the first time she was 3 so she really didn't understand. But now she is 5 and was having a hard time dealing with it."

In an effort to get Isabella to see herself in a more positive light, Pina reached out to Gianna Nicole’s Heart of Hope, an organization which helps families whose children are battling cancer. The charity teamed up with Bella Princess LLC, a princess party company to set up a photo shoot late last month for Isabella -- complete with special guest, Cinderella. The model who dressed as the Disney princess donned a bald cap, and showed the young cancer patient that she had nothing to be insecure about.

"After all she went through ... it was such an amazing feeling seeing her so happy," Pina told HuffPost.

Before finding out that Cinderella would be attending her special day, Isabella, who was accompanied by her siblings, was hesitant to participate in the photo shoot, uncomfortable with showing her head.

"At first she didn't want to go. Then, she said she would go with a hat on, and when we got there she still refused to take off her hat," Pina said about of her daughter's uneasiness.

It all changed, however, when Cinderella walked in, confident even without hair.

"She said, "she looks just like me!'" Alana Hubbard, the photographer behind Mother Hubbard Photography who shot the images, told HuffPost.

Pina added, "Her face lit up and seemed to relax a little. Isabella took off her hat. She was so happy and seemed more at ease taking pictures."

The photo shoot ended up having quite an effect on the 5-year-old, who recently saw the pictures for the first time.

"It re-enforces what I tell her every day -- that she is beautiful. That photo shoot just made her realize everyone feels the same way as [I do]," Pina told HuffPost.

Hubbard says she's ecstatic to hear about Isabella's newfound confidence, and hopes that the pictures will provide others going through the same thing with some comfort.

"We're really hoping that it shows other little girls who may be going through cancer too, that you can be a perfect princess with or without hair," Hubbard said.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Topics: child, hair loss, inspiration, princess, fairy tale, medical, cancer, patient, treatment

'She Can Have Some Of My Hair': After Seeing Girl Without Hair, Toddler Moved To Donate Hers

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 03, 2014 @ 12:23 PM

By  Kimberly Yam

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This young girl is truly benevolent beyond her years.

Three-year-old Ariana Smith from Winterport, Maine watched a video from Extra Life, a charity that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through video gaming, that featured a girl who didn't have any hair. The curious kid then decided to ask her parents about what she saw, Josh Smith, Ariana's father, told the Huffington Post in an e-mail.

"She asked why the little girl had no hair. We explained that she was sick and that the medicine they were using made her hair fall out," Smith said.

The chat left a strong impression on Ariana. 

“Without a second thought, Ariana said ‘Oh, well she can have some of my hair,’” Smith told ABC News.

So, on November 21st, the toddler received her first cut, and with the help of her parents, donated her hair to Locks Of Love. The pictures from the milestone, which were posted on Imgur, have since gone viral with over 500,000 views -- an ode to the 3-year-old's generosity. 

"She could be so selfless like that," Smith told ABC News. "Her first reaction is ‘How about I give up something that I have so a little girl can feel pretty'."

While Ariana's act of kindness is a noble one, her father says that he wasn't surprised when she expressed her desire to donate her hair. He told HuffPost that she loves helping others -- even when she's playing.

"I think she’s just a caring person," he wrote. "She has a little play set of medical devices which she uses often. I’ve had my blood pressure and heart rate 'checked' hundreds of times this year."

As for Ariana's new hairstyle, the toddler seems to be adjusting quite nicely to her fashion statement. 

"She loves it," Smith says of her daughter's new hairdo. "She can eat her breakfast without worrying about her hair drooping into it."

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Topics: child, hair loss, hair donation, medical, cancer

Olympic Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Moved To Tears By Young Fan Who Battled Leukemia

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Oct 15, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

By Eun Kyung Kim

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It takes nerves of steel to win World Cup, World Championship and Olympic titles like Mikaela Shiffrin. Yet, the alpine skier melted into a pool of tears after hearing from a young Swedish girl she has called her “little lucky charm.”

Shiffrin met 11-year-old Emma Lundell two years ago in Are, Switzerland, after winning her first World Cup title, NBC Sports reported. Emma was battling leukemia at the time and had asked Shiffrin for a photograph.

“That was the biggest wake up call," Shiffrin recalled for Swedish publication SPORT-Expressen, which surprised her with a video update from Emma, who is now 13 and has finished chemotherapy treatments. Emma, whose hair has grown back, says she's even healthy enough to resume cross-country skiing.

“I’m so honored that you have thought of me. To be mentioned as your lucky charm is the nicest and greatest thing ever,” she said in her message to Shiffrin, who repeatedly wiped away tears while watching.

“Wow,” Shiffrin said. “She looks so good. Oh my gosh, that makes me so happy. I wonder about her a lot actually.”

And the skier's reply to her young fan was equally moving. 

"Emma, I’m so glad that you’re healthy, and that your chemo is done, and your hair is beautiful,” she said.

“I hope I see you again, maybe in Are. I think about you a lot and I’m very glad that I met you because you keep me grounded when I get arrogant. And I think about how tough it must have been for you, and I’m so glad to have met you and I wish you the best.”

Source: www.today.com

Topics: child, cancer, patient, leukemia, olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin, fan, battling cancer

6-year-old surfer girl won't let disease wipe out her serious skills

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 01:44 PM

By Jeffrey Donovan

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Nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel," 6-year-old Quincy Symonds is making waves not only for her incredible surfing skills, but also for her courage while coping with a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

With a growing social-media following both on Instagram and YouTube, the Australian phenom might just be the best 6-year-old surfer in the world.

“I have never seen a surfer male or female this good at such an early age — and I’ve taught thousands of kids to surf,” her coach, Anthony Pope, told TODAY.com.

In March 2013, when Quincy was 4, she became fascinated by her father's love of surfing, and insisted on doing some of her own. Her mother, Kim Symonds, told TODAY.com it didn't take long for Quincy to find her balance on a surfboard.

“It was just the second or third wave she stood up on, which is apparently quite phenomenal,” she added. “Within a week, she was going across the waves and looking to make turns.”

From a coaching perspective, Pope admitted he had his doubts at the start of their first session, when they swam to 3-foot waves at the surf break known as Currumbin Alley.

"There were a lot of surfers looking at me like, 'You shouldn’t be out here with that tiny kid,'" he said. "However, after pushing her into a perfect 3-foot wave, she took off down the line, tearing the wave up. I was shocked, speechless and super excited. I knew immediately she was something very special."

Pope credits Quincy's success to her fearless nature, exceptional balance and a drive to catch the best wave.

Quincy started making international headlines this month, when Australian media outlet ABC Open featured her serious skills in a Vimeo video that's racked up almost 1 million views. In that video, her father, Jake Symonds, says he still can't believe what he's seeing. "I'm amazed by it," he said. "I'm really proud of it. But, to be honest, I can't comprehend how she does it, and how she's done it so quickly."

It's especially impressive given Quincy's medical condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, congenital adrenal hyperplasia limits adrenal glands' ability to make certain vital hormones. 

When Quincy was born, she spent many stints in the intensive-care unit of various hospitals. "On and off, we spent more time in a hospital than we spent at home," Kim Symonds told ABC Open.

The young surfer's health is more stable these days, but because her body doesn’t produce cortisone, she depends on three daily doses of steroids.

Because her illness means she'd require immediate medical care in the event of injury, “We keep emergency medication on hand always,” her mother told TODAY.com.

Despite her condition, Quincy seems fearless when she surfs or skateboards in her family’s hometown on Australia’s Gold Coast, north of Sydney.

That fearlessness led to her nickname, too.

According to ABC Open, when she was younger, she spotted a squirrel in a tree near her house and hopped off her father's SUV to mimic it. "The Flying Squirrel" was born.

As someone who's worked with pro surfers Owen Wright, Dion Agius and Stephanie Gilmore, Pope told TODAY.com he feels "privileged" to work with his young protégée.

"I feel like a better person just knowing Quincy," he said.

Source: http://www.today.com

Topics: child, illness, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, girl, surfing

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