pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

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Thanksgiving Dinner: Then vs Now!

It was over TWO HUNDRED years after it was first “eaten” (the dinner) before Thanksgiving (the holiday) became “officialized” in the United States.

Every pre-school child knows about the Pilgrims eating their first harvest meal with the Wampanoag Indians. They might not know the dinner was in 1621 and that Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863; but, they do know about gratitude and being grateful—or at least I hope they do.
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Refresh: 15 Back To School Diseases

I’ve written about back to school diseases and problems before but it seems that questions and issues just keep the topic alive and asking for an update.

This will be just a quick update of 15 back to school diseases your child may encounter now that school bells are ringing again.
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The “Art” Of Caring in Children’s Surgery

True compassion like that of Dr. Sam Rodriguez at the Stanford Children’s Hospital isn’t unique, just rare. A child’s experience with surgery is not the same everywhere; and, I’m sorry to admit, not all surgeons, anesthesiologists or hospital administrators are as caring—even if they are as talented. Compassion for others is a hard thing for parents to teach, as I’ve written about before.

The thing is, except for the gadgets and gizmos, a child’s hospital experience hasn’t changed much in the past 50 or so years. They are still afraid, they still don’t understand what is happening to them, they still feel disenfranchised and out of control… they still respond to people who care.

In the early 70s I felt inadequate next to my mentor Dr. Elwin at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City Utah as he showed me how he engaged his patients in the world of Sesame Street. He had previously met them in the security of their parents close by and obtained their favorite character and flavor. He was now holding them in his arms with their flavor permeating the mask and singing a song in the voice of their character. Before a single verse they were asleep and quickly transferred to the table with an IV started.

My patients I felt were cheated! I bought a tape, listened to it incessantly until I had mastered the songs and voices and attempted the engaging patter I had been shown. Still, I felt inadequate next to my mentor; but, that single rotation altered the way I felt about and dealt with patients from then on.

Dr. Sam Rodriquez
Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Surgery at Children’s Hospital, Stanford

Preoperative visits, favorite character, options to choose from, feeling like you’ve got some control, favorite flavor—a doctor who “cares”; the perfect storm of techniques when a physician combines his medical skills with a love for children.

In the ’70s during it was Dr. Elwin at Primary Children’s Hospital—flavored scents in masks, Sesame Street characters and his “lap induction” technique; today it is Dr. Rodriquez at Stanford—flavored scents in masks, full field video projection and a surgical table that “blasts off.” Same thing—different era… still uncommonly rare and beautiful to watch.

Prenatal Marijuana (Cannabis) and Brains

To my way of thinking the very thought that medical researchers are forced to stop what they are doing on important issues beyond our control and do research to prove that marijuana is bad for you and shouldn’t be used as a “toy” is unconscionable to the extreme.

We just can’t let the scammers and dealers destroy unborn babies like they did pushing tobacco however; so, that’s just what researchers had to do.
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James Parkinson: Social Activist and Advocate, Parkinson’s Disease and Palentology

Dr. James Parkinson was born on World Parkinson’s Disease Day, April 11th 1755, in London, England. Of course he didn’t know it at the time. Come to think of it, neither did his parents; nor the fact that he would become one of the 50 most influential doctors of all time.

Affecting an estimated 1% of people over 60 years of age, what has come to be known as “Parkinson’s Disease” is one of the most common neurologic disorders known today.
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Physical Signs of Hidden Heart Disease in Children and Teens

Once upon a time doctors were almost thought of as wizards; not so much any more and it all has to do with the ability (and desire) to do a thorough physical exam.

No kiddin’. Before the invention of so much gadgetry physicians relied on their acute senses for ever-so subtle clues the body gives when it’s not running full on all cylinders but before a part gives out entirely.
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Guidelines: Fruit Juice Intake For Children

I learned the adage “if a little is good, a lot is better” just after sitting in my pharmacology class and seeing Dr. Goodman hold up a book entitled: “Two For A Horse, One For A Human.”

Most generation of parents eventually find something to get “wrong” (especially if you ask the children) but it seems the current generation of parents is getting picked on… a lot. The latest? Fruit Juice.
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Intussusception In Children – Diagnosis and Treatment

There are four causes of bowel obstruction in children: Herniation, Adhesions, Volvulus and Intussusception. I’ll describe the four (shown in photo) but expand a bit on intussusception—which is the topic of this article.

A bowel obstruction, inability of food to pass completely through the intestinal system unimpeded, can occur at any age and there are many causes; but, time has shown us that we can narrow the most probable causes down a bit based upon age.
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Rotating Brain WA Animation

These well done graphics were developed and published by Jeff Bryant, a fellow over at Wolfram Alpha in Champaign, IL., to highlight the capabilities of Wolfram’s “Mathematica” computer language they’ve been developing. They call it: “AnatomyPlot3D” via the Wolfram Language in Mathematica 11.

The Medical Graphics of Jeff Bryant
Astronomy, Cataclysmic Variable Stars… Wildlife Photography

Rotating Head

Rotating Torso

Erasing Arm

Mandible

A Patients Funeral

This is perhaps the most odd post I’ve written for this site in many years. It’s been on the possibles list for a year or so while I tried to figure out how to present it, and I’ve had difficulty.

I never respond with a comment on someone’s blog; but, when I read an article by another physician about going to a patient’s funeral it hit me so strong that I simply had to. Then the more I thought about it, I felt that both his article and my comment should find a place on my site as well.

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Puberty Time Lapse

The incredible bodily change during puberty never ceases to amaze me. In this project I have a couple other observations as well.

Frist, I’m a bit envious of the technical skills it took to create such a time-lapse montage. Even the calendar on the wall progresses through the months and years, and I’m positive it’s more than one year.

And second, think of what it must have taken to keep his son’s cooperation through that many years! An incredible joint project through a (normally) difficult time of life for a teen where cooperation through long term projects is hard to come by.

Four “Bad” Stages of Childhood

You take your boy to the doctor—in the hopes that he’s seen this rash before and knows what to do about it. You commiserate with your women’s group about your daughter—thinking they will know what you’re going through, at least give you sympathy and perhaps even some things they’ve tried.

You talk to your pediatrician about growth, development and parenting during the “rough ages”—correctly knowing that they’ve seen thousands of parents who’ve already gone through exactly what you’re going through.

That’s what we do. That’s all we do. So we have seen thousands of parents go airborne as they hit the speed bumps of their kids lives in various stages… there are FOUR of them— you knew that, right?
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