Stories about: home parenteral nutrition

HPN helps football fan thrive

Rithvik has his blood pressure tested at an HPN appointment
PHOTOS: SOPHIE FABBRI/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

At 13, Rithvik Kottapalli isn’t just a New England Patriots fan — he’s been a passionate devotee since he was a toddler. “He started young,” laughs his mother, Lakshmi. The boy’s adoration even buoyed him along after he experienced a major stroke four years ago. As he recovered at Boston Children’s Hospital, “He couldn’t remember his own name,” says Lakshmi. “He didn’t know that I was his mom.”

Yet when a clinician asked him who his favorite Pats player was, Rithvik had an answer right away. “[Rob] Gronkowsi,” he murmured — twice.

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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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Care for short bowel syndrome helps Ellie enjoy being a kid

treatment for short bowel syndrome at Boston Children's
Ellie and her dad, Gib

It’s a Thursday afternoon and Ellie Brogan is bubbling over with energy, greeting old friends and waving at others as they walk by. The 11-year-old, says her father, Gib, is “raring to go.” She’s a Girl Scout, plays viola and is in the cast of her school play, but today’s appointment is no typical afterschool activity. Instead, Ellie and her dad are paying their monthly visit to the Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CAIR) at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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Isaac’s story: A ‘new normal’ with short bowel syndrome

Isaac stays active with short bowel syndrome

It was the morning after their baby son Isaac had come home from the hospital, and Jennifer and Brian Campbell were performing the same sweet act of bonding as many new parents: giving him a bath in the sink. But as they maneuvered around the room, they suddenly realized something was very wrong. “I fell to the floor and started screaming and crying as formula shot out of his stomach,” remembers Jennifer. “I thought we’d broken him.”

The reality, of course, was that the Campbells were simply adjusting to their new “normal” — something any parent of a medically complex child can understand. Isaac wasn’t a newborn. He had finally been discharged from the hospital after nine months. And his parents hadn’t hurt him. They’d just accidentally pulled out his gastrostomy (G-tube), which provided his body with nutritional support.

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