Author: Matt Cyr

Santa pays a virtual visit to Children's

Patient Gwen Lorimier talks to Santa via the web

Every year, families spend the holidays at Children’s Hospital Boston, and every year Children’s works hard to bring a little bit of home to the hospital so the holidays can feel as normal as possible. This year has been no exception, with trick or treating on Halloween, home-cooked meals on Thanksgiving and celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas and Dawali (more on those celebrations tomorrow on Thrive). Yesterday, our patients even had a chance to chat virtually with Santa Claus thanks to a great annual program by the Cisco Systems. Check out the media coverage of the event, with stories by Reuters, Boston’s WHDH TV station and the IDG News Service. Also check out more pictures from the event in this photo gallery.

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A second home for Halloween

Every year, thousands of children and their families spend holidays at Children’s Hospital Boston, separated from family and friends, and not able to take part in the activities and traditions they look forward to all year long. Over the next few months, we’re going to share the stories of a few of these families and highlight the things Children’s does to make holidays away from home as enjoyable as possible for our families.

Today we start with Halloween, the holiday many kids miss the most when they’re stuck in the hospital. “Our patients always remember the year they had to miss trick or treating because they were here,” says Beth Donegan-Driscoll, director of Child Life Services. “So we try to bring as much Halloween spirit to the hospital as we can.”

As you’ll see in the video above, shot at different events throughout the hospital, the Halloween spirit was alive and well this week.

Have you had to spend a holiday at a hospital? Tell us your story in the comments section below.

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Children's goes back to Ghana

Cardiac surgeon Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, has had a busy year. First, he and his patient Sara Dumas were featured on the ABC program Boston Med when he transplanted a new heart into Sara. Now, he’s back in his home country of Ghana, where he’s leading a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers in an ongoing mission to perform much-needed open-heart surgery on children with complex heart conditions in a country with no pediatric cardiac surgeons.

Follow the efforts of the team as they blog from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. They’ve already gone through the grueling decision day (where the doctors and nurses decide which children are good candidates for surgery and which are not) and have operated on the first group of patients. Now begin full days of surgery, recovery and evaluation on kids whose lives will be changed forever by the Children’s team.

Dr. Fynn-Thompson and his mission to Ghana were featured on Good Morning America in 2008. Read the story and watch the piece by Dr. Tim Johnson here.

And, here, watch a video, created in the spring of 2008, in which Dr. Fynn-Thompson describes the mission.

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Extreme carrots to the rescue!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the public push to get people to live healthier lives can feel a bit finger-pointy and heavy-handed. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for doing what it takes to get kids—and their parents—to eat more healthfully, get more exercise and spend a bit less time in front of the TV, but must the messaging always be so serious?

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