When we welcomed our son Mason to the world, we never expected we’d be here a year later saying our baby is 1…and he needs a kidney transplant.
As a transplant surgeon for both kids and adults, I spend my days and nights waiting for the call that a precious, life-saving organ is available for one of our desperate patients — a call that doesn’t come nearly often enough. But I have faith that one day signing up as an organ donor will be as normal and routine as wearing a seat belt, a bike helmet or putting on sunscreen.
Every day 17 people across the country die waiting for an organ. There are 123,253 souls currently on the wait list who hope, pray, beg or bargain for someone to be their hero. At the same time, an untold number of people took their organs with them when they died instead of leaving them to live on in someone else.
It’s not only a loss for the patients waiting for organs, but a missed opportunity for family and friends of organ donors to experience the comfort and pride that comes from knowing their loved one saved a life or many lives – leaving this world as a hero.
On Mother’s Day 2010, my son Gavin had his first seizure. That was just before his fourth birthday. Up until that point, Gavin was a healthy young boy. At the hospital that Mother’s Day, Gavin was diagnosed with epilepsy and a brain tumor. For the next three years, Gavin suffered from multiple seizures even though he was on five medications and a special diet. He had seizures most every night and sometimes during the day. We couldn’t leave him alone and had to limit our activities because we never knew when he’d have a seizure.
Every morning at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 40 to 50 people gather for our 15-minute safety huddle. It’s an opportunity for staff to share safety concerns that can range from equipment issues to challenging family situations with the potential to cause safety issues. It’s not the place where we solve the concerns, but it’s a place for concerns to be voiced and connections to be made so issues can be addressed. After the huddle, a quick email recap is sent out to more than 250 staff members.
Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates March as National Nutrition Month; this year the theme is about “Biting Into a Healthy Lifestyle” in order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of chronic disease.
“Biting Into a Healthy Lifestyle” involves making healthy food choices; however this can be hard for everyone, as many of our favorite foods and family recipes contain high amounts of calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars that have been shown to be detrimental to our health.
Simple food substitutions can help to reduce the amount of these nutrients that you consume, leading to a healthier diet. Below is a list of just a few ways to help make your favorite food healthier while still tasting delicious.
- Broil, grill, bake and steam foods instead of frying to reduce the fat content
- Use fresh fruits to add sweetness to foods such as yogurt or oatmeal to decrease sugar consumption
- To reduce sodium intake cook with herbs and spices instead of salt
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a reduced fat content
- To reduce the amount of sugar when baking, replace the sugar with applesauce
- Choose leaner meats such as ground turkey instead of ground beef for a reduced fat content
- To increase fiber intake use whole-wheat products such as bread, pasta, and rice
Take the next step
For more information on National Nutrition Month and how to achieve a healthier lifestyle, visit the Patient Food and Nutrition Services Healthy Eating Tip of the Month page: http://www.med.umich.edu/pfans/services/tip.html
Alyssa Shrader is a dietetic intern at the University of Michigan Health System with a concentration in Pediatrics. She graduated from Colorado State University in May 2014 with a major in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a minor in Biomedical Sciences.
For more than 160 years, theUniversity of Michigan Health System has been a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. The three U-M hospitals have been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including a #1 ranking in Michigan and national rankings in many specialty areas by U.S. News & World Report.
Not all medications are formulated by manufacturers in dosages appropriate for children. Pharmacies make those medications by compounding them — meaning they crush and dissolve the adult medication and suspend it in liquid in a dosage appropriate for the child’s size. The problem is that different pharmacies may compound the same medication at different concentrations — meaning a teaspoon of medication from one pharmacy may not be the same as a teaspoon of the same medication from another pharmacy.
We wanted to investigate the prevalence of compounding variability and create a solution that would decrease the potential for medication adverse events occurring due to inadvertent wrong doses being administered. Data was collected that identified 147 medications that are compounded for children and found that there were 470 different concentrations of those medications being made. The concentrations of which varied widely.