Category Archives: Child & Youth Health

A sick newborn, a loving family and a litany of wrenching choices


By Jenny Gold

SAN FRANCISCO — Anne and Omar Shamiyeh first learned something was wrong with one of their twins during their 18-week ultrasound.

The technician was like, well there’s no visualization of his stomach,” said Anne. “And I was like, how does our baby have no stomach?”

It turned out that the baby’s esophagus was not connected to his stomach. He also had a heart defect. At the very least, he was likely to face surgeries and a long stay in intensive care. He might have lifelong disabilities.

This was only the start of an eight-month ordeal for the Shamiyeh family. Continue reading


Many Schools Failing on Type 1 Diabetes Care – The New York Times


school-busToo many schools are failing to provide the growing number of students who have Type 1 diabetes with the routine care they need, such as insulin shots or blood sugar monitoring, federal regulators and diabetes experts say. And often, parents do not know they have the legal right to insist on it.

Source: Many Schools Failing on Type 1 Diabetes Care – The New York Times


How heroin is hitting the foster care system


320px-HeroinBy Sophie Quinton

Timothy Dick’s office receives all kinds of reports of child abuse and neglect. Perhaps a child has a broken bone, or is underfed, or has been left home alone for too long.

But when caseworkers drive to the child’s home to investigate, they often discover the same root cause. “What we’re finding more and more is that the parents are addicted to opiates. And more often than not, it’s heroin,” said Dick, assistant director of child protective services in Clermont County, Ohio.

In Ohio and other states ravaged by the latest drug epidemic, officials say substance abuse by parents is a major reason for the growing number of children in foster care. In Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, more than half the children placed in foster care this year have parents who are addicted to opiates, Dick said. Continue reading


Parents in poor countries have worry about vaccines, too: If they can get them for their children


Globe 125X125The Republican presidential debates have fueled another round of vaccine anxiety in the U.S. But in the world’s poorest countries, parents have a different set of concerns: They worry about getting their kids immunized quickly enough.


Tylenol maker sought to block new safety regulations


New Court Docs: Maker of Tylenol Had a Plan to Block Tougher Regulation

by Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller ProPublica, Sep. 21, 2015, 8 a.m.

Extra Strength Tylenol Caplets_0Recently filed court documents show the makers of Tylenol planned to enlist the White House and lawmakers to block the Food and Drug Administration from imposing tough new safety restrictions on acetaminophen, the iconic painkiller’s chief ingredient.

An executive with McNeil Consumer Healthcare 2013 which counts Tylenol as its flagship product 2013 told the board of directors for parent company Johnson and Johnson about a campaign to “influence the FDA” and block recommendations made by an agency advisory panel in 2009.

It may be time to let members of Congress to put some pressure on FDA . . .

About 150 Americans a year die by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. The toll does not have to be so high. Read the story.

After Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s top drug regulator, put off meeting with McNeil executives, the company’s president, Peter Luther, sent out an August 2009 email.

“We’re being too nice and too worried about stepping on FDA’s toes. It may be time to let members of Congress to put some pressure on FDA,” Luther wrote to other top executives. “We have to make this our top priority and pull out all stops.” Continue reading


Seattle Children’s ethics conference now online (video)


The videos from Seattle Children’s Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics 2015 Conference, The Delicate Triangle: Responsibilities and Challenges in the Provider-Patient-Parent Relationship, are now available on the Seattle Children’s website,

Here’s the opening talk, entitled “Must We Always Tell Children the Truth?”, by John Lantos, MD,, director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center in Kansas City.


States pressed to increase efforts to reduce drownings


life-jacket-float By Michael Ollove

Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death for U.S. children under age 5, after birth defects. For youngsters under 15, only traffic accidents are responsible for more deaths by injury. And while drowning rates have declined slightly since the turn of the century, African Americans continue to die from drowning at considerably higher rates than whites.

Faced with such stubborn figures, public health advocates and researchers complain that state and local governments aren’t doing enough to prevent drowning deaths. Critics say most states don’t have sufficient laws or don’t enforce laws that could lessen the chances of drowning, such as requirements for fencing around private pools and the presence of trained lifeguards. And, they say, too little is being done to make sure that children have swim lessons and water safety skills.

“There is so much that can and should be done,” said Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Injury Research and Policy. Continue reading


Vaccine rates leave many Washington toddlers at risk


Alert IconFrom Washington State Department of Health

New immunization rates show many toddlers across the state aren’t getting vaccinated for certain diseases on time, if at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Immunization Survey.

The trend means more children are at risk of getting measles, whooping cough, or other preventable diseases.

The trend means more children are at risk of getting measles, whooping cough, or other preventable diseases.

The annual survey reports that children between 19 and 35 months of age weren’t any more protected against serious and potentially fatal diseases than the year before. About 67 percent of toddlers in 2014 were fully vaccinated by 3 years of age.

This overall rate is about 3 percent lower than 2013, but statistically the two rates are not significantly different.Washington’s immunization rates for 2014 did not improve for most recommended vaccines for young children.

The lone exception was the dose of hepatitis B vaccine given at birth. Coverage rates for the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine exceeded national coverage rates, increasing to almost 80 percent.

“The data show that we’re not protecting all of our kids as well as we should,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “We’re disappointed that our rates aren’t higher. When kids aren’t fully protected, it puts those kids and the wider community at risk of disease. The recent spike in measles cases and the ongoing whooping cough outbreak highlights the need for high vaccination rates.” Continue reading


After years of study, FDA endorses safety device for giving children acetaminophen


ppmb_budnitz_demo_560x373_131227By T. Christian Miller and Jeff Gerth
ProPublica, Aug. 12, 2015, 8 a.m.

The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of a safety device for bottles of children’s medication containing liquid acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.

Called a flow restrictor, the device fits into the top of a bottle to prevent kids from inadvertently squeezing or sucking out too much liquid. In high doses, acetaminophen can result in liver damage and even death.

While the FDA guidance released earlier this month does not require use of the devices, it is a strong signal to manufacturers that flow restrictors are considered an important safety feature to help reduce accidental overdoses.

“This is definitely significant,” said Dr. Dan Budnitz, a scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is leading an effort to make children’s medicine safer.

The move comes 20 months after ProPublica and Consumer Reports reported on the devices, which have been shown to greatly reduce the liquid dose that children can accidentally remove from a bottle.

About 10,000 children each year visit the emergency room for overdosing on liquid medicines, many of them containing acetaminophen, studies show.

PHOTO: Bryan Meltz for ProPublica

Continue reading


Event: Back to school and type 1 diabetes

Teen/College Pre Events

Back to School and T1D

Friday, August 21, 2015 6:00-7:30pm

Join us at Seattle Children’s Hospital to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year. This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.  Please RSVP by August 14.

Our panel includes:

  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
To register, please visit or contact Karine Roettgers kroettgers@jdrf or 206.708.2240