Stories about: ear infection

Hospital becomes playground for 2-year-old with ear tubes

Luke Park

Distracting and entertaining a toddler during a doctor’s visit is no walk in the park. But what if the doctor’s office has all the bells and whistles of the playground, plus it makes your child feel better?

Luke Unsworth is an active and healthy 2-year-old who lives with his parents Marybeth and Andrew Unsworth in Norwood, Mass. After six painful ear infections in six months, Luke’s pediatrician referred the Unsworths to Dr. Eelam Adil at Boston Children’s at Waltham for Myringotomy tubes (ear tubes).

Dr. Adil says ear tubes “decrease the frequency and severity of ear infections, improve comfort, allow for using antibiotic drops instead of oral systemic antibiotics and improve hearing.” About one million children in the U.S. each year have tubes placed in their ears.

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Say what? An iPhone tool to diagnose ear infection?

shutterstock_195954584If you’re the parent of a child plagued with frequent ear infections, an iPhone otoscope that lets you peek into her ears to capture a video of her eardrum and share the images with her doctor may sound like just the gadget you need.

The CellScope, the iPhone otoscope mentioned above, and the Pacif-i, a Bluetooth pacifier that takes a baby’s temperature, were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month. The Las Vegas-based annual trade fair, a weeklong playdate for gadgetphiles, included a host of devices designed to make it easier for parents to track their kids’ health.

Do you need an iPhone otoscope? Will a sneak peek at your daughter’s eardrum translate into better or faster care for your toddler? Is your child’s pediatrician ready to view home video of your daughter’s eardrum? Probably not, at least for now.

There is some value in the devices, especially if your child has a chronic issue, according to Michael Docktor, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital’s clinical director of innovation and director of clinical mobile solutions. Docktor was on hand at CES to check out the hundreds of health and biotech gadgets on display at this year’s show. “For me, it was a chance to see where medicine and health care are headed,” Docktor wrote on BetaBoston.

But the gadget fest offers more of a sneak peek at the future of care, rather than a new way to diagnose and treat sick kids.

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