• Can children become organ donors?

    Just like adults, children can be diagnosed with diseases and medical conditions that cause organ failure. Unfortunately, it’s often more challenging to match a child in need of an organ to a suitable donor organ. Not all children are large enough to receive adult-size or even teenager-size organs. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatric specialists keenly feel parents’ pain when they are told that their children could die without an organ transplant. During National Donate Life Month this April, take a few minutes to become better informed about the critical need for organ donors in Las Vegas and around the country.

    Understanding the need for organ donors

    Children’s hospital staff members do everything possible to save the lives of children, but sometimes even superior pediatric care fails. The loss of an infant or an older child is unspeakably devastating. It can be difficult to make major decisions in the immediate aftermath of a child’s death, but taking a few minutes to consider organ donation is an act of love. In the U.S., there are nearly 2,000 young patients waiting for a life-saving organ , according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, 939 families made the decision to give the gift of life to other families by donating their children’s organs.

    Deciding to donate a child’s organs

    The decision to donate is a personal one. Many parents decide to donate their child’s organs because, in the midst of their own heartbreak, they wish to help save the lives of other children. Some parents are comforted by the thought that, although they’ve lost their own precious child, a part of their child will live on in someone else.

    Authorizing organ donation

    If an organ donor is under 18 years of age, the donation must be authorized by a parent or legal guardian. If you’re considering pediatric organ donation, a doctor or nurse can guide you through it and answer your questions.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, parents will find high-quality, compassionate care delivered by dedicated pediatric specialists. It’s our mission to give your child and your whole family the care and support you deserve. You can call a nurse at our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.

  • Seeking care for pediatric tumors

    There are significant differences between pediatric cancer and cancer in adults. Childhood cancers aren’t significantly influenced by lifestyle choices and environmental factors, for instance. Children’s bodies can also respond differently to cancer treatments. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s crucial to turn to childhood cancer specialists, such as Pediatric Oncology and Special Services at Sunrise Children’s Hospital .

    Surgery to remove tumors in children

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a pediatric surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital discuss the surgical removal of tumors in children. He explains that when the cancer does involve a solid mass tumor, surgery is often the primary treatment. The goal of the pediatric surgeon is to remove the entire tumor while leaving as much of the healthy tissue as possible. Some children have cancer that does not form a solid tumor, such as leukemia and lymphoma. These children might still be referred to a pediatric surgeon, who can place a port to be used for chemotherapy.

    Chemotherapy for pediatric cancer

    Most pediatric cancers respond better to chemotherapy drugs compared to adult tumors. The average child can also tolerate chemo better than the body of the average adult. However, chemo can still cause serious short-term and long-term side effects, which means the patient will need follow-up evaluations periodically for his or her lifetime. During chemotherapy, a child’s immune system won’t be as effective at fighting off infections. To reduce the child’s exposure to germs, it may be necessary to keep him or her out of school for a while. Alternative education options are available, which parents can explore with the help of a social worker.

    Radiation therapy for pediatric cancer

    Radiation therapy is painless, but it can cause short-term and long-term side effects. It might also be frightening for young children. If your child’s oncologist recommends radiation therapy, ask if you and your child can tour the facility before the treatment. Seeing the treatment area in advance may help calm your child’s nerves.

    Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers more than just sophisticated, specialized cancer treatments for young patients. At our children’s hospital in Las Vegas, it’s our mission to give children and families extensive emotional support and coping education. Call a nurse at (702) 233-5437 to discuss our pediatric cancer care or Child Life services.

  • Are Digestive Diseases Hereditary?

    Good nutrition is a cornerstone of a healthy childhood, but it isn’t always easy for kids to get the nutrients they need. Some children are affected by digestive disorders. There are many types of digestive disorders that affect humans and some of these are hereditary or have a tendency to run in families. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a pediatric gastroenterologist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital introduce some of the digestive diseases that may run in families.

    Hirschsprung Disease
    Pediatric specialists may diagnose Hirschsprung disease shortly after birth. Children with this inherited digestive disorder often fail to have a bowel movement during the first few days of life. Hirschsprung disease is characterized by the absence of nerve cells that trigger the muscular contractions that are necessary to move stool through the colon. Poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea, malnutrition, delayed growth, and abdominal pain can result from Hirschsprung disease. This disease can lead to other serious complications, including intestinal perforation, inflammation, and obstruction.

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
    IBD is a group of diseases that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract . It includes ulcerative colitis (UC), which results in swelling of the rectum and, in some cases, swelling that extends farther up the colon. Crohn’s disease is characterized by the formation of ulcers that can develop anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Unlike UC, patients with Crohn’s disease may have “skip” areas, which are areas with normal tissue in between affected areas. Inflammatory bowel diseases tend to run in families. This means that a child may be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with an IBD if a close relative has it.

    Cystic Fibrosis
    Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder. It is not exclusively a digestive disorder, but it can indeed affect the digestive system. The thick mucus that is characteristic of cystic fibrosis can block the transportation of enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine. This can result in failure to thrive, severe constipation, intestinal blockage, and rectal prolapse.

    The clinical dietitians at Sunrise Children’s Hospital work closely with families to help them meet their children’s unique nutritional needs. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas is committed to helping kids feel better and live life well. If you need a referral to a pediatric specialist for your child’s digestive disorder, you can call our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.