Doctor-patient friendship helps make an upside-down world right

pediatric strokeSeven-year-old Jacob Downing has a list of caregivers as long as his “different” right arm.

On top on the list is a be-spectacled, bow-tie-wearing neurologist. Dr. Michael Rivkin is co-director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center and the first person Jacob remembers seeing after the emergency surgery he underwent following a stroke.

Jacob doesn’t remember the surgery to clear the blood clot that caused his stroke. “Dr. [Darren] Orbach worked a miracle for him,” says Jacob’s mother Nichole. Orbach is the neurointerventionalist who performed the endovascular thrombectomy procedure to break up the blood clot that caused his stroke.

“Like a lot of doctors at Boston Children’s, Dr. Rivkin talks directly to Jacob. Jacob knows he is trying to help him, and it shows,” says his father Justin.

And Jacob has needed a lot of help in the aftermath of his stroke. Initially, he seemed to quickly regain some of his lost skills.

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What if my child is a bully? A parent’s guide to end the bullying


It’s a busy day at work. Your phone rings, and the principal at your child’s school tells you your child is bullying other students. What do you do?

Popular media tends to focus just on the children who are bullied. So, what about the children who are bullies? According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, approximately 30 percent of young people admit to bullying others.

Research also shows that bullies are at greater risk for delinquent behavior and may experience adverse physical and mental health consequences including poor academic achievement, depressive symptoms and more.

Here are some tips to help parents start the conversation, and stop the bullying.

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Experience Journal: Self-cathing around friends and at school

self-cathing-experience-journalClean intermittent catheterization (CIC), sometimes called self-cathing, involves emptying the bladder using a thin tube called a catheter when children and adolescents are unable to empty their bladders completely on their own. Some of the reasons children and adolescents might need to self-catheterize are if they were born with abnormal anatomy, had an infection that affected their bladder function or suffered damage to the nerves connecting the bladder to the spinal cord and then to the brain.

The Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Urology and the Department of Psychiatry created the Self-Cathing Experience Journal. This journal includes stories from children, young adults and parents who represent the collective wisdom of families who have experience with self-cathing. Here are some of their stories, in their own words.

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Dedicated Dad partners with doc to save daughter’s sight

lazy eye amblyopiaFive years ago, Dan Lee had planned a big outing with his newly adopted daughter Manisha Sapkota, a 14-year-old from Nepal.

“I was excited to take her to see ‘Toy Story 3D’ — her first 3D movie,” recalls Dan. But Lee was puzzled by his daughter’s response when he asked her what she thought.

“It was OK,” Manisha told her dad.

A few months later, Manisha’s lukewarm response made more sense. During her first physical exam in the U.S. at the Boston Children’s Hospital Martha Eliot Health Center, the doctor suggested Manisha might have amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” in her left eye.

“She told us she couldn’t see anything when the other eye was covered. I thought she was playing. I was shocked,” says Dan.

Manisha was referred to Dr. Amy Moy, director of optometry at Martha Eliot.

“Usually, optometrists see children for their first visit at age 3 or 4, but that’s not the case in Nepal,” explains Moy.

As Dan thought about his new daughter’s medical history, the diagnosis started to make sense. Manisha had probably been born with a lazy left eye that was never diagnosed. Because she didn’t use the eye, her vision worsened. But for Manisha, seeing the world through one eye was normal.

Rigorous testing confirmed the diagnosis — Manisha had lazy eye. Her vision in the left eye was 20/200 — the cutoff for legal blindness.

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