Transplant medicine through the years: a brief timeline

by Tripp Underwood on April 15, 2014

NDLM_2014_FacebookProfile11April is National Donate Life month, when people come together to raise awareness about organ donation and encourage others to register themselves as donors.  Donate Life Month is in its 11th year, but organ donation itself dates back much further. In fact, in ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese cultures there are legends of transplants performed by gods and healers, proving that the concept of organ donation is at least thousands of years old. Here’s a quick look at how organ transplantation has progressed over the years: Full story »

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Why I’m running the Boston Marathon

by Boston Children's Hospital staff on April 14, 2014

This year’s 118th Boston Marathon represents many different things to the thousands of participants who will run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, Mass. to Boston’s Copley Square. For some, it will offer closure—an opportunity to put the tragedy of last year’s events behind them. For others, it represents a new start—a chance to embark on a new path, inspired by those who have run before them.

Among those competing are several Boston Children’s Hospital employees, each with his or her own reasons for running…

Scott-Glynn “I’m running this year to complete my 3-year-goal of running a marathon, qualifying for the Boston Marathon and then running with the best runners in the world.”

Scott Glynn, Access Control Administrator, Security



Lauren-Codd“I’m running for two reasons: to finish what I started last year and to push my own ability.”

Lauren Codd, MBA, Executive Assistant, Quality Program Department of Medicine

Full story »

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Disney, gender and the parent as gatekeeper

by Guest Blogger on April 10, 2014

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1Not a single temper tantrum was thrown during our recent week-long Disney World vacation.

And my children were pretty well-behaved too.

My husband and I aren’t really “Disney people,” but, like most children, our kids are. So being the bigger people, (literally and figuratively) we headed to Orlando armed with good attitudes, determined to enjoy our time there and experience our children’s excitement.

But I also went to Disney with a certain degree of curiosity. As the mother of a little boy and girl, I wanted to see how much of our Disney experience centered on gender. Full story »

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Adapting the parenting playbook for each child

by Guest Blogger on April 8, 2014

By Daniel Epstein, MD, vice president of the Pediatric Physicians Organization at Boston Children’s. Epstein practices at West Cambridge Pediatrics, in Cambridge Mass. and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

crying-babyKids are different.  From one another, I mean. When my daughter was 4 or 5 or 6 or even 7 years old, she could lose it, big time. Unable to contain her emotions, she’d do what children do and have a tantrum.  She’d kick and scream and bang and cry and shake. Eventually, I’d get behind her and, positioning her in front, facing forward, get her arms in a kind of straightjacket, and like Odysseus grabbing Proteus, hold on until she calmed down.

The Hero, Odysseus, trying to find his way home, learns that Proteus has important information for the journey. Apparently, not big on sharing knowledge, Proteus would not answer questions without a struggle.  Odysseus was instructed to grab Proteus and hold on for dear life.  Proteus was a shape changer, and when held, would turn into beasts or water or smoke, you name it. The trick was not to let him go until he resumed his usual form, at which point he would answer your questions.

For children, this idea is straight out of the children’s book, The Runaway Bunny – wherever you go, there is stability following you. I have you, and in my calmness, I demonstrate that I can handle your emotions. With my gentle strength, I show that I can contain the physical expression of your inner turmoil. I will not let you hurt yourself or break things. You are safe from the rampages of yourself.

And just like for Odysseus, where, eventually, Proteus returns to his normal appearance, after 10 or 25 minutes, my daughter (the beast, infant, princess, lioness, ragdoll, monster) eventually would be herself and in a calm voice say, “I’m OK now dad.  You can let me go.” Full story »

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This blog was createdby Boston Childrens Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships through its partnership with the Boston Public Schools and made possible with support from the Patriots’ Day Project, a charitable Fund established by Fidelity Investments® employees in an effort to help our community heal.

empty schoolWith the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings approaching, it’s likely that the wave of media coverage recalling the tragedy could raise questions or concerns in children. Of course, parents will play a large role in helping answer these questions and letting children know they’re safe, but teachers also will be very important in reassuring children.

School should be a safe haven for children—a place to talk to peers and trusted adults about what they are seeing and hearing—which helps them process the world around them. When that world seems frightening or overwhelming, educators know that they need to do everything in their power to support students. Full story »

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Keeping children safe around grandma’s medicine

by Tripp Underwood on April 4, 2014

Grandmother-and-grandaughterMulti-generational parenting is becoming more common, as the number of children living with grandparents—or receiving regular care from them—continues to rise. And according to reports, this generation of seniors is healthier, better educated, living longer and more financially secure than those of the past.

In other words, today’s Nana and Granddad are ready for the job.

But, as shown in this report from Safe Kids Worldwide, when grandparents become more active in child care, it carries a safety concern: increasing kids’ access to the grandparents’ medication and pills, and potentially serious cases of medication poisoning.

Safe Kids data shows that almost 64,000 emergency department (ED) visits in 2012 were related to a child swallowing medication not meant for her. That’s an ED visit once every 8 minutes, for an accident that is completely avoidable. Full story »

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Honoring Tim

by Tripp Underwood on April 3, 2014


Tim Packhem touched—and saved—a lot of lives. It’s an impressive thing to say about anyone, but the fact that Tim could affect so many, in so short a time, is what makes him truly special.

Those close to him affectionately knew him as “Tim-bo”—a friendly goofball who was quick with a joke or a hug. The kind of guy who walks up to you on your first day at a new school and invites you join him and his friends at the lunch table.

At 16 years old, when Tim died from severe brain trauma after falling off a skateboard, the number of people who appreciated his carefree attitude became heartbreakingly clear. Almost his entire school came out to honor his memory at the wake. The line, stretching long and silent, snaked slowly past his casket with hundreds of people wanting to tell him goodbye, thank you, or both. Full story »

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Dispelling myths about organ donation

by Tripp Underwood on April 1, 2014

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Transplant Center would like to remind people just how important organ donation is to saving thousands of lives, including children. Right now 120,000 people are on the organ donation list, and 1,735 of those people are pediatric patients. (Of all these patients, 18 will die every day waiting for an organ to become available.)

Almost 2,000 young patients are on the organ donation list

Data shows that a majority of Americans are aware and supportive of organ donation, but only about 60 percent actually take the steps to become an organ donor. One of the biggest roadblocks to getting more people to register as organ donors is misinformation about the process. To help clear up any doubts our readers may have, we’ve created the following list of the more common myths about organ donation and explained why they are untrue.

Myth: Doctors don’t work as hard to save patients who are organ donors because there is such a big need for donated organs.

Truth: For all medical professionals, the first and most important goal is to treat and help their patients. What’s more, organ donation is organized and orchestrated through an impartial third party called an organ procurement and transplantation network (OPTN), so a medical team treating a patient has no knowledge or say in how a person’s organs are allocated. In many cases, while the doctors are trying to save a patient they will have no idea if he or she is eligible to be an organ donor.

Myth: I’ve heard of people who were declared dead that weren’t really gone. I don’t want to lose an organ if I still need it!

Truth: These types of stories make for great headlines, but cases of people being declared dead when they are actually alive are extremely rare in the United States. To be extra careful, the medical community has created specialized tests that are performed in order to confirm that a patient’s brain has, in fact, died. Only after the person has been declared dead can the process of organ donation begin. Full story »

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