Stories about: Warf

Preemie Jace Perkins rocks ’n rolls through 137 days in the NICU

Melyssa Perkins was 25 weeks into a healthy pregnancy with her first child when she began to have abdominal pain. She called her local nurse who said she was probably dehydrated, but when water didn’t help and the pain increased, Melyssa and her husband Jamie rushed to nearby Beverly Hospital, where they discovered that she was fully dilated.

“I don’t think I said one word at that point. I was in complete shock,” recalls Melyssa. Two hours after the couple arrived at the hospital, their son Jace was born at 1lb. 12 oz. Beverly Hospital stabilized Jace and arranged for immediate transport to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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Children's doctor improves hydrocephalus treatment in Africa

For most Ugandan citizens, life can be difficult. A majority of the nation’s 28 million people live well bellow the poverty line with little access to quality health care. As a poverty-stricken nation with a birth rate four times higher than the United States, pediatric medical conditions like hydrocephalus, a fairly common condition, are a very serious concern.

Hydrocephalus is a build of fluid in the brain and causes cranial swelling

Hydrocephalus is a build up of fluid in the brain, which can lead to extreme enlargement of the head in infants, progressive brain damage, and eventual death as the baby grows older. In resource-poor countries like Uganda it’s commonly caused by neonatal infection. The condition is routinely corrected in many parts of the world with an operation and post surgery monitoring, but in Uganda that level of care is hard to come by, resulting in thousands of preventable deaths for the disease.

It’s a daunting problem, but Benjamin Warf, MD, director of Neonatal and Congenital Anomalies Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital Boston, has developed an innovative surgical technique that has been successful in decreasing the number of hydrocephalus deaths in developing countries like Uganda.

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