Author: Jessica Cerretani

Bouncing back from a colorectal malformation: Reagan’s story

care for perineal fistula

It’s a situation few parents ever imagine during a healthy pregnancy. Yet there Laura and Jared Maxwell were, waiting anxiously in the Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston Children’s Hospital as their infant daughter, Reagan, under went a barrage of tests. After their little girl had been born with a congenital anomaly just a few weeks earlier, physicians wanted to make sure that she didn’t have other related genetic syndromes that could affect her heart, kidneys and other organs. “It was one of the most terrifying days of my life,” recalls Laura.

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26.2 for three: A transplant nurse’s tribute to her patients

pediatric transplant
Desh and Lucas

Heartbreak Hill: It’s the notorious Boston Marathon landmark that runners both anticipate and dread. But when Deshanthi “Desh” Perera approaches that challenging climb on April 16, she’ll have special motivation propelling her uphill. Perera, a nurse working on the organ transplant inpatient unit of the Pediatric Transplant Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and first-time marathoner, isn’t just running for the glory of a personal best time or the satisfaction of completing the race. She’s running for all of the remarkable patients at Boston Children’s, including three of her own.

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Persevering after the unimaginable: Jacob’s journey with short bowel syndrome

little boy after treatment for short bowel syndrome

Yankees or Red Sox? Giants or Patriots? Rangers or Bruins? Seven-year-old Jacob Hersko and his physician, Dr. Christopher Duggan, may playfully debate whose hometown is better, but in one area, it’s clear that Boston comes out on top: “Jacob loves coming to Boston Children’s Hospital,” says his mother, Rachel. “He says it’s like going to Disney World.”

When she was pregnant with Jacob, Rachel and her husband, Geoff, never anticipated that they would be traveling to Boston every few months. The little boy was born at full-term, with no apparent complications. But when he was just a week old, the unimaginable happened: He was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious intestinal illness in babies that results in the death of intestinal tissues.

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Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health helps families thrive

shari nethersole, md
Dr. Shari Nethersole speaks at a community meeting.

Justin’s mom grabs him a fast food dinner because the nearest supermarket is two bus rides away. Mia is afraid to play outside because there was a recent shooting in her neighborhood. Janelle’s parents have trouble covering all their expenses each month and are worried the family will be evicted from their apartment. These scenarios are stressful for families in the short term, but they can also have lasting effects on health and well-being. Without access to affordable, fresh foods, stable housing and other supportive resources, families may struggle to provide the environment that both parents and kids need to thrive in the long term. “Good health depends on much more than access to healthcare,” explains Dr. Shari Nethersole, Executive Director for Community Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Housing, education, safety, access to food and physical activity all have a major influence on health and longevity.”

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