Blue Sky Day: Reaching for the stars with Rett syndrome

by Guest Blogger on September 30, 2014

By Melinda Lancaster

UnknownEvery mountaintop is within reach if you just keep climbing. —Barry Finlay (award-winning author and mountain climber)

On October 11, families and researchers will join together at the steps of Gordon Hall, on the campus of Harvard Medical School, to bring awareness to the struggle of our children with Rett syndrome. As our Blue Sky Girls (and one boy) begin their symbolic climb up the stairs, we are reminded of the effort researchers, parents, caregivers and especially the children themselves make on a daily basis to go onward and upward toward a goal once thought unreachable. Full story »

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Trading my patient ID bracelet for an employee ID badge

by Guest Blogger on September 29, 2014

Honoring Craniofacial Acceptance Month and one young man’s quest to give back

By Torrence Chrisman

Torrence Chrisman, 24, is a history major at the University of Massachusetts Boston. At birth, Torrence was diagnosed with Apert syndrome, a rare genetic birth disorder involving abnormal growth of the skull and the face, fingers and toes. Read about his medical journey as a Boston Children’s patient and his quest to return to the hospital.

20140925_Torrence-26I came to Boston after being born in Chicago, where I was diagnosed with the amazing Apert syndrome. It was because of the doctors and surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital that I ended up in Massachusetts. One surgeon, Dr. Joe Upton, specialized in operating on the hands of Apert patients. He swung a home run every time he entered the operating room and worked miracles with microsurgery. Dr. John Mulliken, who specialized in the craniofacial aspects of my surgeries, always had a can-do attitude and completed the surgeries with confidence. Full story »

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The Nurse’s Throw-Up Guide

by Meaghan O'Keeffe on September 24, 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_1When it comes to common childhood illnesses, few wreak havoc on the entire household like the dreaded stomach bug (or viral gastroenteritis).

No parent likes it. Most siblings can’t take even the slightest thought of it. And often, the last person to get sick is the poor caretaker.

But there’s some hope. With these nurse-approved throw-up tips, you might get through this unscathed. Even if you don’t, it can be less disastrous than you might have initially imagined. Full story »

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Don’t Panic About Enterovirus D68

by Claire McCarthy on September 23, 2014

McCarthyClaire_201108_047With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it’s easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood—or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.

But please, don’t panic.

This virus has certainly caused trouble. Enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year—but usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we don’t fully understand, is stronger, and is worse for kids than for adults.

I can hear you saying: so why shouldn’t I panic? Here’s why. Full story »

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Michael RichMichael Rich, MD, MPH, is Boston Children’s Hospital’s media expert and director of Boston Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. (Visit their newly redesigned website here.) Send him a media-related parenting question via and follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.

Q: I am 14 years old, and currently debating my choice of friends. They all play first-person shooter (FPS) games, while I choose other kinds of games. They often tell me how great their games are but criticize mine. When they clamor for the new Call of Duty, I freak out over the new Sonic games. I am firmly against playing rated M (mature) or AO (Adults Only) games and so are my parents. Are my parents and I the odd ones out on this? Aren’t there negative effects associated with playing FPS games? And if so, what can I do? Full story »

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Back-to-school health: How heavy is your child’s backpack?

by Ramya Rajpurohit on September 17, 2014


As you begin to prepare for the new school year, consider how much weight will rest on your child’s shoulders. Millions of students in the United States carry backpacks overloaded with textbooks, sports equipment and more, to and from school. But the weight of the backpack and how it is worn could lead to back problems. If a backpack weighs more than 15 percent of a child’s body weight, it could induce back pain. Backpacks should weigh much less; additionally, they should be worn on both shoulders for equal weight distribution with the height falling two inches below the shoulder blades and sitting at waist level. Full story »

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PhoneAlexandra Schoening is a senior at Boston College and plans to pursue a career in Nursing. This summer, she got a sneak peak at her future profession when she interned at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Here, she shares five lessons she took away from the experience.

“Lub-dub” goes my heart.

We wake up each morning greeted by the day’s “to-do” list. Some days, the hours take their sweet time passing. Other days they fly by and, before you know it, it’s already tomorrow and you’re doing it all over again.

But if you stop to think about it, isn’t it amazing? That each day we wake up and live?

You may be thinking I’m crazy right about now, but if my internship in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Boston Children’s Hospital has taught me anything this summer, it is that we should be in constant awe of our ability to live.

Full story »

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What to know about Enterovirus D68

by Kipaya Kapiga on September 11, 2014

labBy now you’ve heard the news: a virus is sending more and more children to the hospital with coughing and breathing problems that are often severe. That virus is Enterovirus D68 and it’s just one strain of Enteroviruses, which cause colds, fever, headaches, vomiting and rashes among other symptoms. Most Enterovirus infections are common; they cause roughly 10 to 15 million infections every year.

D68 is an unusual strain, however.

Full story »

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