As a mother, pediatric care is personal for me. I’m likely not alone in saying that pediatricians were crucial partners for me and my husband when our boys were little. Whether we were marking milestones or facing medical emergencies, our pediatricians were sounding boards who treated us — and our sons — with kindness and respect. The boys admired them and laughed at their silly jokes. Most importantly, we all trusted them in a crisis to keep the focus on what was best for the boys.
Much of the content in the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine points to the concept of putting children at the center of their care, recognizing that their health care is vastly different from what adults need. As Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, notes, care for children calls for special tools and strategies specially tailored to their young and growing bodies and minds.
For example, the "Virtual calming" story explores how clinicians are turning to technology that is familiar with kids and teens — virtual games — to calm them before medical procedures. Tom Caruso, MD, clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology, explains that “terrifying clinical experiences” can cause sleep disturbances and other behavioral changes for weeks to come.
Also in the issue, you’ll learn how traditionally adult treatments are being re-imagined for use in children. For instance, you’ll meet a 5-year-old girl who had a tumor on her arm that wasn’t responding to chemotherapy. A radiology team used focused ultrasound to successfully shrink her tumor, saving her from a surgery that could have limited her mobility for the rest of her life.
In the case of 11-year-old boy whose leukemia returned after three grueling years of therapy, doctors hoped for success with an experimental immunotherapy treatment that used the boy’s patients’ own genetically modified immune cells to track down and attack the leukemia cells. It worked. One expert called patient responses to the treatment “nothing short of miraculous.”
Also in this issue, which was produced in collaboration with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford:
- "Healing environment" and "At a glance": An inside look at the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which was designed to focus on nature and family in healing, and to include the most advanced equipment and technologies to improve diagnostics and treatment.
- "No place to call home": An article about what the Bay Area skyrocketing housing prices, and lack of affordable housing, means for children’s care, and what pediatricians and social agencies are doing to help.
- "Saving children": A conversation that Paul Costello, the magazine's executive editor and chief communications officer for the School of Medicine, had with Save the Children CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt, whose organization is focused on “protecting children in armed conflict” and improving children’s lives around the globe.
The issue also includes "Going natural," about cardiac surgeons increasingly using a patient’s own tissues to repair, rather than replace, damaged aortic valves to give patients better long-term outcomes; and "Curing our climate," an excerpt from a new book by two wilderness medicine experts who say we should be shouting about environmental changes that are making us sick.
It's an issue you'll want to read and to share with anyone who cares for, or cares about, children.
Previously: Stanford Medicine magazine reports on the future of vision, Stanford Medicine magazine reports on sex, gender and medicine and What art and the humanities bring to medicine: a look from Stanford Medicine magazine
Image by Christopher Silas Neal