Sunrise Children's Hospital
For more than three decades, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital.
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How donating blood can save a child's life

Posted on 2/5/2018

Just like adults, pediatric patients need blood transfusions for a variety of reasons. Usually, donor blood is used because the child has lost too much blood, can’t make enough blood or has a bleeding disorder. Every time you decide to donate blood at a children’s hospital or Red Cross blood drive, you’re making a positive difference in your community that could save lives. During National Blood Donor Month this January, Sunrise Children’s Hospital would like to thank all blood donors throughout Las Vegas who have given the gift of life.

The loss of blood
Children’s emergency care teams may need donor blood to save the lives of children who have suffered severe burn injuries, traumatic wounds or internal bleeding.

Children who need surgery may also need blood transfusions. Occasionally, children and teens are able to donate their own blood, before the procedure, or a family member will donate blood. However, children who undergo surgery may lose more blood than expected, in which case, emergency blood transfusions are needed.

The inability to make enough blood
Inside some bones, like the hips, lies a spongy tissue called bone marrow. This tissue is responsible for producing new blood cells.

Some pediatric patients are affected by bone marrow diseases that prevent this tissue from making enough blood cells or from making normal blood cells. For example, the tissue produces abnormal white blood cells because of leukemia, a type of cancer. In children with aplastic anemia, the bone marrow doesn’t produce red blood cells.

Sometimes, a medical treatment can affect the ability of the bone marrow to make blood, such as chemotherapy. This is why pediatric cancer patients may require blood transfusions.

The complications caused by a bleeding disorder
Blood or bleeding disorders are another reason why children need blood. When you choose to donate blood, your gift may be used to help children with sickle cell disease, hemophilia, von Willebrand disease or thalassemia.

Pediatric patients at Sunrise Children’s Hospital need blood every day. Your donation can save the life of a child in our Trauma Center, Emergency Room, surgery wing or oncology unit. A friendly nurse is available to take your call at (702) 233-5437.


Celebrating Give Kids a Smile Day

Posted on 1/29/2018

Dental health is an important part of your child’s overall health. In 2003, the American Dental Association launched the Give Kids a Smile program to help disadvantaged kids receive free dental care, and to teach parents how vital oral care is to overall health. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank these volunteer dentists, and to encourage parents to celebrate Give Kids a Smile Day by learning more about their kids’ oral health needs.

Oral issues in babies and toddlers
Your baby needs oral care from day one. Although he or she won’t start teething for a while, it’s important to take good care of the gum tissue and their teeth as they begin to appear.

When your child is bottle-feeding, avoid giving them sugary liquids or milk between meals. Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by this liquid sitting on their gums and teeth. If they fall asleep with the bottle, it’s even more important to give them water instead, as it can sit in their mouth overnight.

Once your baby is done eating, make sure to wipe your child’s gums or teeth. This will prevent the excess sugar from building up on their gums or teeth as plaque.

Oral issues with elementary aged children
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, or no later than the first birthday, your child needs to see the dentist. Your dentist will help you learn how to gently brush your child’s baby teeth, and as they age, how to teach them to brush themselves.

Without proper dental care, a child can develop tooth decay in both baby and adult teeth. Tooth decay can be painful and cause issues with eating (and lead to poor nutrition), self-confidence, and even speech.

Oral care for adolescents
As your children age and become adults, tooth decay and damage can cause serious conditions like cardiovascular infections, or cause complications to current conditions like diabetes. Helping your child develop thorough oral hygiene early will set them up for success as they grow up.

Whatever your family’s health challenges , the pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital can help. We’re proud to be a leading provider of specialized pediatric healthcare for Las Vegas-area families. You can request a physician referral by calling a trusted member of our nursing team at (702) 233-5437.

Understanding your high-risk pregnancy

Posted on 1/19/2018

Every pregnancy proceeds a little differently, and some require more medical attention than others. Your doctor may inform you that you have a high-risk pregnancy due to pre-existing maternal conditions, or to conditions that develop after you become pregnant. It can be intimidating to hear that you and your baby will need extra care, but at Sunrise Children’s Hospital our compassionate providers are always here to help.

Reasons for a high-risk pregnancy
There are dozens of reasons why an expecting mother might have a high-risk pregnancy. Medical conditions that can cause this include:

  • Lupus
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse

Other potential reasons for a high-risk pregnancy include being pregnant with multiples and being of an advanced maternal age.

Steps to take for a healthy pregnancy
Despite being designated as having a high-risk pregnancy, you and your doctor can still manage these challenges effectively. Many women and babies facing this dilemma do not experience significant complications.

Your doctor will develop a prenatal care plan that fits your specific health needs. Generally, women with a high-risk pregnancy are advised to:

  • Attend more frequent prenatal care appointments
  • Receive more frequent ultrasounds
  • Undergo additional screening or diagnostic tests
  • Adjust current medications or take new medications
  • Monitor their weight gain carefully
  • Follow a doctor-approved physical activity program
  • Work with a registered dietician on a healthy meal plan

Ways a high-risk pregnancy may affect labor
Some women with high-risk pregnancies may go into labor before their estimated due date. Babies who are born prematurely need extra care in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. Here, your baby will receive around the clock monitoring and care until he or she is well enough to return home with you.

Another issue to be aware of is the potential for a cesarean section, or C-section. This is a surgical birth, rather than a vaginal birth. If you need to deliver via C-section, this procedure might be planned ahead of time or performed on an emergency basis.

Women with high-risk pregnancies will find superior care and extensive support at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Our Level III NICU brings together a talented team of specially trained neonatal intensive care nurses, developmental specialists and board-certified neonatologists—all of whom continually strive for healthcare excellence. For general information about our NICU hospital, call (702) 233-5437.

How does pediatric surgery differ from surgery for adults?

Posted on 1/12/2018

Surgery teams at children’s hospitals undergo extensive training in order to safely perform procedures on pediatric patients. There are considerable differences between pediatric and adult surgery, and you can hear about some of them when you watch the accompanying video. It features a pediatric general surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. He explains that parents can expect a compassionate, family-centered approach to pediatric surgery.

Surgery preparation
Mentally competent adults who are planning to have surgery will go into this situation knowing exactly what’s being done, why it’s necessary and what they can expect. It isn’t this simple to explain a surgery to a child.

This is one reason why dedicated children’s hospitals have Child Life Specialists on staff. A Child Life Specialist can work directly with children and their siblings, providing age-appropriate information in a way that reassures them.

Anesthesiology
An anesthesiologist administers medications to make the patient unconscious during the surgery. Placing a child under anesthesia is different than it is for adults. Children are smaller, weigh less and respond to medications differently.

Children also have smaller airways than adults. This is significant because pediatric anesthesiologists must have the proper training and equipment to manage smaller airways during surgery.

Furthermore, a pediatric surgery patient’s urine output, heart rate and blood pressure must be monitored during the procedure. These values will be different for kids than for adults.

Family involvement
Pediatric surgery specialists don’t just treat the child—they also provide care for the entire family. They understand that a child’s surgery is a major, nerve-wracking event for parents. As a result, the surgery team goes the extra mile to ensure the family has been well-prepared and has access to needed resources.

Pain management
Post-operative pain assessment is a challenge for pediatric surgeons, primarily because children and adolescents may lack the ability to accurately describe what they’re feeling. Doctors and nurses must balance the need for good pain control with the need to limit the potential side effects of powerful pain relievers.

A Child Life Specialist can also play a role in a child’s pain management. He or she can help kids learn how to describe the intensity and type of pain they’re experiencing. Child Life Specialists can also help patients and parents use drug-free pain management techniques to complement the medications.

As an HCA affiliate, Sunrise Children’s Hospital maintains an unwavering commitment to healthcare excellence. Our pediatric surgeons, nurses and Child Life Specialists are genuinely compassionate individuals who work tirelessly toward giving each patient the best possible outcome. You can request a referral to a pediatric surgeon in Las Vegas by calling a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.

Thyroid issues commonly diagnosed in children

Posted on 1/8/2018

Your child’s thyroid produces important hormones. These hormones are needed to regulate blood pressure, metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. They also play a role in brain development and growth of young children. A thyroid disorder occurs when this gland can no longer produce the right amount of hormones. This might sound alarming, but pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital can help treat these disorders.

Hypothyroidism
One common pediatric thyroid disorder is hypothyroidism, where the gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can cause children to have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Cool body temperature
  • Brittle hair
  • Dry, pale skin
  • Slow growth
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Facial puffiness
  • Muscle cramps

Although children with hypothyroidism may gain weight more easily, the disorder isn’t usually the cause of overweight and obesity.

To treat hypothyroidism, pediatric endocrinologists will usually recommend thyroid hormone replacement pills.

Hyperthyroidism
Children with hyperthyroidism have the opposite problem of those with hypothyroidism. With this disorder, the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone. Most often, it’s the result of Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune condition.

Parents and teachers of affected children often notice that they experience significantly impaired concentration abilities and rapid, disorganized thought patterns. Other possible signs and symptoms can include the following:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Red, swollen and bulging eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss, despite an increased appetite
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Excessive sweating

Additionally, infants with hyperthyroidism might have problems breathing. This can be caused by excessive pressure on the windpipe due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Thyroid nodules
The thyroid gland, which is located at the base of the front of the neck, may sometimes develop a firm lump called a thyroid nodule. Nodules are sometimes visible and palpable. In most cases, they are not cancerous.

When a thyroid nodule isn’t cancerous and isn’t causing problems, the patient may not need treatment. If it grows, the pediatric specialist might recommend the surgical removal of half of the gland.

In the event a nodule is cancerous, the typical treatment is the removal of the entire gland.

Your child’s health is precious. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, nothing is more important to us than providing superior, family-centered healthcare that enables children to lead happy, productive lives. Call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437 to request a referral to a specialist at our children’s hospital.

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