Sugar makes kids hyper: fact or fiction

“Wait an hour after eating before going swimming.” “Don’t go out in the rain or you’ll catch a cold…” We’ve all heard these before…mostly because our parents told them to us…but who told it to them? Sometimes their parents…sometimes even doctors…but is there actual science behind the myths that most of us believe – and will more than likely pass on to our own kids?

Pediatricians Andrew Adesman (author of “Babyfacts: The Truth About Your Child’s Health From Newborn Through Preschool”), Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman, (co-authors of “Don’t Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health”) all agree – many of the leading myths just don’t have the scientific evidence to back them up. When in doubt, doctors often fall back on what their own mentors taught them without questioning the facts on which their advice is based. (Story by Liz Szabo, USA Today http://tinyurl.com/p6nmox)

So what are these wives’ tales that parents believe and these pediatricians say are myths? Here are some of my favorite:
  • Adding cereal to a baby’s diet will help him sleep longer (…we really do so want to believe)
  • Teething causes a fever (apparently no more so than anything else)
  • Vitamin C, echinacea or zinc will prevent a cold (a number of studies to the contrary)
  • You can catch poison ivy from someone else with poison ivy (only if they haven’t washed off the oil )
  • Birth control pills don’t work as well on antibiotics (apparently no proof of this)
  • Must stay awake with a concussion (not unless the doctor says so).
  • Timing when you have sex will determine your baby’s sex (even if it’s not true – this one might be worth double checking…just for the fun)
In reality, there are infinitely more questions than there are answers when it comes to the many important medical decisions we often face. That is why I believe it all comes down to this. If you look at the heart of these “myths” there is one common theme…at the end of the day, their goal is to keep us and our children healthy and safe. And until we are inundated with good, credible scientific data to the contrary, it is highly unlikely we will ever give them up.

Truthfully, if I ask you right now do you believe sugar makes kids hyper – fact or fiction? …what would you say???

Honoring the brave who have fallen

A 58-year-old man died Sunday in Detroit, MI. after rescuing a 7-year-old boy who fell into a water-filled hole. The boy was playing on Sunday at a home construction site when he fell into the foundation pit that was being dug for the basement. Garrett Townsend who lived nearby in the housing development jumped in to rescue the child but was unable to climb the muddy sides of the pit to pull himself out of the water. He did not survive however he managed to rescue the child who is doing well.
(story by the Associated Press http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/us/26brfs-MANDIESAFTER_BRF.html)
 
Today we honor those who have given their lives for us. We thank all the brave men and women around the world giving their lives each day to protect us and keep us free. We thank every police officer and every fire-fighter and EMS-person who has given their life to keep us alive and safe. But today we cannot forget to thank Garrett Townsend and everyone else like him who probably would have never considered themselves to be particularly brave or to be a hero …but when a child’s life was at stake, made the ultimate sacrifice.

Garrett, we will remember you when we honor the brave who have fallen.

The Littlest Victims of The Recession – Part I

Times have not been easy. It’s no surprise that many of us will leave this recession with more than a few “battle scars”. But for the littlest ones, the ones who can’t fight their own battles, the economic crisis has begun to take on a much more frightening tone as it threatens their health and in some cases even their lives.

According to CBS Early Show medical correspondent Dr Jennifer Ashton, nationwide 44% of children’s hospitals are reporting increases in ER visits this year. At Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio – one of the larger children’s hospitals in the country, traffic is up in the ER, even though the population of children in northeast Ohio is down.

Dr Edward Barksdale, chief of pediatric surgery, says the ER is busier than ever because people are waiting to seek care. Too many can’t go to a doctor’s office and end up coming to the ER instead, delaying care until its necessary. Then there are cases such as baby Hailey Sarubbi, born at 23 weeks and weighing little more than a pound who is struggling to survive because her mother went into premature labor after working seven days a week to make ends meet. And 17-year old Teauna Boysaw who didn’t have health coverage when she came into the ER with an infected cyst…her mother, a nursing assistant, couldn’t afford the $550 monthly fee to insure her children.
CBS News Interactive: Children In Danger
http://kdka.com/health/kids.health.care.2.1013257.html

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that our little ones are ending up in ER’s across the country. Do we blame the parents who delay treatment until it is absoutely necessary because it is more important to put food on the table? Do we blame a system where one in nine children lacks health insurance coverage? Do we blame the doctors and nurses who keep the child waiting in the ER, sometimes for hours, because every day there are more and more to treat.

Or is there something simpler we should consider here. Perhaps rather than blame, we could look for a way to help …a way to support…a way to cheer on every caregiver who is managing to not only survive these unbelievably awful times, but doing their very best to make life a little better for the child in their care – whether it’s their own or someone elses. Maybe it’s by relying on each other that we find the answers to the problems…for them…and for us. Perhaps its silly to look to a television show for any real meaning, but maybe the castaways on ABC’s Lost were on to something when they said “live together, die alone”. All I know is its up to us to make sure the littlest victims of the recession never become its casualties.

Saving a Baby…All in a Day’s Work

On Thursday May 14th, Mathew Cook and Rafael Marrero, two medics working the graveyard shift in lower Manhattan saved a life. That alone was news to celebrate. What made it truly remarkable was that the life they saved was that of a baby girl born 5 months premature and weighing less than a pound.

The call they received at 7am that Thursday morning was for a woman, 36 years old and four months pregnant who was on her way to the hospital, in severe pain. While in the car things progressed from bad to worse…the dispatcher told the medics they were responding to a likely miscarriage. Upon arrival they proceeded to deliver the child with care. And although they thought it was too late, they wrapped the child in blankets, cut the umbilical cord and flicked an unbelievably tiny foot to stimulate breathing. The little girl let out one gasp and started to cry. …and then, so did her mother.

As caretaker of this blog, and co-founder of a company whose goal is to make it safer for little kids to travel on ambulances, I am often critical of the slow adoption rates I see for new technology in this industry. But what I am never critical of is the job the men and women do everyday who put on an EMS uniform, go out in the field and save lives…because the results speak for themselves. EMS is an unbelievably demanding career. And like so many other individuals to whom we entrust the care and safe-keeping of our families, they are often underpaid and rarely recognized.

A friend of mine who spent many years in the industry, recently told me not to call them heroes. Apparently it wasn’t the right use of the word because what he did wasn’t especially heroic…it was just part of his job. Well maybe I was quiet then, but now I’d like to take a moment to disagree. When Mathew Cook said that “That was it. She just started to breathe, then starts to cry, it’s a great feeling,”…I have to admit it…I was more than a little impressed. And maybe saving that baby’s life was all in a day’s work, but to me, it was 100% my kind of hero.

Oh…and before I forget …welcome to the world little girl 🙂

(Original Story by Peter N. Spencer, Staten Island Advance
http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/1242648008280010.xml&coll=1)

…And Then There’s the Joy

For those of you who watched Grey’s Anatomy last night, there were some sad moments and some gut-wrenching unbelievably awful ones…and then there was one unbelievably beautiful one…the joy of a child who was given another chance at life. One doctor gathered several of her colleagues to witness it. Together they stood outside her room, quietly smiling and taking in the moment. There wasn’t much more that needed to be said – the message was clear. Saving one childs life trumped everything.

Given the project I’ve been working on, it has meant that over the years most of the news stories I’ve captured have been the sad stories of the children involved in ambulance crashes. This blog gives me the opportunity to share all kinds of pediatric patient stories. Today, I am grateful to be able to share something incredibly uplifting…

(by Roni Caryn Rabin: NYT 5/13/09 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/health/14scorpion.html?_r=1&ref=us )

10 year-old Michael Moerdler-Green was stung by a scorpion during a recent family trip to Phoenix. At the emergency room, doctors offered his parents a choice of treatments: heavy sedation to help calm his symptoms or an experimental scorpion venom made in Mexico, but not yet approved for use in the US by the FDA. His father, Dr Moerdler-Green, chose the antivenom. His son was able to leave the hospital ONE HOUR AFTER RECEIVING THE MEDICATION.

No other antivenom specifically for scorpion stings is available in the US. A study published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine documents a small clinical trial of young children stung by bark scorpions – most given the drug recovered from most of their symptoms within 2 hours. Dr Leslie Boyer, director of a venom research institute at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson said wider use of the antivenom could make treatment much easier in rural areas and small towns in the state that do not have PICU’s and usually have to helicopter children to hospitals for care.

I would like to thank everyone for sharing this with me today. I am grateful to have your company when the news I have is sad or scary and my hope is to raise awareness about some child safety issue. I am thrilled that the only message I have to pass on today is one of hope…and life. Welcome to the joy.

What I Remember

St. Petersburg, FL., the year was probably 1978 or 79. My partner and I had responded to a drowning in a large apartment complex at the north end of town. When we arrived we found a bunch of people doing or trying to do CPR. While we were getting into position to take over care a news crew arrived and began to film the action- the cameraman positioned right behind me.

The child was blue and just had that look and feel. The outcome was not going to change and it was not right that it was being filmed- solely for the benefit of the TV station. Somehow when I stood up I bumped into the cameraman and into the pool he went.

Fencing could have, would have prevented the death of this child. Parental oversight could have, would have prevented the death of this child. These were not the only mistakes to be made. We put the child on the stretcher and began the very long trip to the hospital.

We did not secure the child in any special way to the stretcher. We never had any means to do so and nothing bad ever happened. Each time we transported a child back then, we did so either using the stretcher or more commonly held the baby in our arms- as though we could hold onto a 30 pound baby in a high speed collision. But we did it time and again and nothing bad ever happened.

That’s not to say that there could not have been a catastrophic outcome from the transport- it just never happened- to me. Back then we were not taught any better and frankly did not know better. Back then the world was a lot larger. We did not know what happened across the country or the world like we do today- only ‘major news’ received that level of exposure. And the fact that we did not believe anything bad would happen kept us from seeking change or improvement. As a society we have enacted universal laws that govern how we transport children in ordinary vehicles. We made these changes because bad things do happen. Emergency vehicles are the same as other cars- only riskier- they run red lights and go fast. We need to adopt the same laws as those that apply to all vehicles

How children are transported today is about the same as it was back then and largely for the same reason- we take a risk and nothing bad happens. There are those who advocate for safer transport of children and infants and some states have enacted legislation to require safe transport equipment for emergency vehicles. Most people just assume that EMS, 911 responders, know what to do and do the right thing.

So what is the moral to this story? We often get angry when bad things happen and lash out in the wrong direction. Hindsight is most often crystal clear but too often we fail to use this vision to change the future. Learn CPR. Insist that all states require EMS vehicles to carry and use approved child and infant transport equipment. Ask questions and get involved.  No Excuses