Patients & Visitors
The idea that every child, no matter how poor or sick, deserves the best care possible took on a life of its own here. Now, 100 years after our beginnings, millions of other young lives have been saved and made infinitely more productive and fulfilling.
When a child comes to Children’s, families can rest assured knowing that he or she is in the best hands. We offer not only cutting-edge medical treatments but also access to some of the nation’s best pediatric doctors. We also offer supportive programs that make health care and hospitalizations easier for patients and their families.
These programs, combined with the highest level of clinical care, compassionate and dedicated employees, medical staff and volunteers, superlative facilities and medical technologies, help us strive to give every child a regular childhood. That is the essence of our mission: that every child deserves to have as carefree a childhood as possible.
Our commitment to helping children lead healthy and safe lives goes far beyond our walls. Our efforts to influence health and public policies are comprehensive and ongoing. Through a combination of initiatives, Children’s spreads its influence into the region and provides area children much-needed access to a better quality of life.
Cancer never dampened spirits of Emma Lock
Emma Lock was like any other 3-year old — except that she kept getting sick. In December 2011, when Emma woke up with one side of her jaw swollen as big as a softball, her parents Sarah and Sean drove her an hour from their home in Maypearl, Texas, to the Children’s Emergency Department.
Doctors found Emma’s jaw full of dead tissue, which they surgically removed. Tests were run, with the last test coming back positive for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
“We were really in shock,” says Sarah. “You think, ‘This will never happen to my kid.’ Of course, you don’t want to see any child with cancer, but when it’s your own kid, it’s very shocking.”
ALL is the most common childhood leukemia, with very good survival rates. But treatment is intense, as with any childhood cancer. Emma’s first treatment phase – induction – spanned five weeks and required chemotherapy multiple times a week.
Emma entered remission after that initial phase, with less than 0.01 percent cancer cells in her bone marrow. Her chemo treatments dropped to a couple times a week, and then down to once a week for the next several months.
Her dad Sean himself had noncancerous tumors as a youth and was also treated at Children’s. “We would not have even considered taking her anyplace else. It was the only place we thought of when she was originally getting sick, and we consider Emma’s doctors and nurses as family. They love our little girl and have been there to support us every step of the way.”
In December 2012, Emma entered the maintenance phase of her treatment, receiving chemo at Children’s monthly and taking an oral chemo drug at home. She will continue this treatment for at least another year, but doctors lifted many of the restrictions placed on her during the other phases.
Of the experience at Children’s, Emma says it best: “I love all of my nurses and doctors. They help me feel better.”
Greyson Keenan a little boy wonder
That tender moment when a mother first holds her newborn baby was cut short for Wendy Keenan on Sept. 27, 2012. She only got to hold her son for five minutes before he was taken out of her arms.
A routine sonogram done during week 24 of Wendy’s pregnancy picked up an abnormality in her baby’s intestines. Another sonogram confirmed intestinal atresia, a blockage in the small intestine.
An estimated 1 in 2,000 newborns will have an intestinal obstruction of some type. If left untreated, the condition can lead to bowel rupture, infection and death. Greyson would need surgery within hours of his birth.
Wendy, a physical therapist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, knows hospitals in the Dallas area, and she knew exactly where she wanted her newborn’s surgery performed. “I wanted him at Children’s. I have friends who work there, and I knew it was the best place for my son.”
After Greyson was born and his mom briefly held him, his stomach was drained. Then his dad Edward rode the ambulance with his new son to Children’s, where he was taken to the Neonatal ICU and extensive diagnostic testing was conducted. Once the neonatal team had the results that located the position of the obstruction, surgery was performed to make the repair.
For the next eight days, Greyson was cared for in the Neonatal ICU. As specialists monitored his incision and kept a close watch on his intestine, Greyson initially received all of his nutrition through a central line. As his intestine recovered, Wendy’s breast milk was slowly introduced.
“It was amazing. Everyone was so helpful and knowledgeable,” says Wendy. “They were great with our baby and really good with me and my husband. Every day someone asked what they could do for us. As a new mom, I appreciated their flexibility and help with the breastfeeding.”
A healthy Greyson now acts like a typical 1-year-old, and is standing and walking with the help of his mom and dad. He enjoys going the park and has even learned to dance to some of his favorite songs. Greyson also enjoys all types of food, especially fruit.
Ethan Fox’s story underscores why head injuries can be life-threatening
In 2012, Children’s admitted 330 patients with traumatic brain injuries. Ethan Fox was one of them. Ethan’s dad, Jason Fox, wasn’t sure if his son would be able to speak or even recognize him after a near-fatal head injury while playing an impromptu touch-football game during recess.
Ethan’s head struck his best friend’s knee, which caused him to drop to the ground. His teacher quickly realized this was much more than a concussion and Ethan remained unconscious while his teacher dialed 911.
Paramedics passed several hospitals on the way to Children’s, knowing that he needed a Level 1 Trauma Center. Ethan was in surgery within 20 minutes of arrival. Only 10 more minutes and Ethan would not have survived the ride to the hospital, according to Dr. Bradley Weprin.
Ethan’s skull split like an eggshell from the collision’s impact. A ruptured artery compressed the brain onto the brainstem.
“In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, his eyes rolled back into his head and I knew he wasn’t there,” says Jason. It was tough. “I was desperately trying to get him to respond.”
One year later, the 11-year-old is back in action.
“Everyone at Children’s helped by caring and working hard to make sure Ethan was well taken care of,” he says. “Dr. Weprin had a great bedside manner and was very confident in his ability and knowledge. Having him assure me that Ethan was OK and could do whatever any other kid could once he had fully healed was a great relief.”
Ethan was back to throwing the football only a few months after his accident. “He now plays linebacker and middle linebacker for Spring Valley Athletic Association. He loves being on a team with friends and getting better so he can play college and pro football,” says his dad.