Hendon is a soft-spoken, polite 17-year old with a quick smile and warm demeanor. A junior at his Plant City, Florida high school, Hendon is a standout in a variety of school activities from wrestling to band, as well as math and science.
Hendon was born with microtia, a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped. His mother Stephanie recalls worrying about how they would afford the cost of the multiple surgeries necessary to correct the defect. (Often private insurance will not cover what it considers a cosmetic anomaly; microtia correction can cost $20,000 to $30,000.) At a little league game when Hendon was nine, Stephanie voiced her concern to a friend, a fellow nurse with whom she had attended school. Her friend suggested she reach out to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“Ironically, we had both worked at the Tampa Shriners Hospital, but because that location focuses on orthopedics, I didn’t think of it for Hendon,” Stephanie said. When she discovered that the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery, she reached out for an appointment.
Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati recognizes that serious self-esteem issues can develop when children are bullied or teased for physical differences. Its team of board-certified plastic surgeons can treat a wide array of issues, whether congenital, developmental or acquired, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
Hendon remembers his first meeting with his surgeon, Brian Pan, M.D., FACS. “As a kid, he explained everything to me so I could understand; he even drew pictures so I knew what was going to happen,” he said.
Ear reconstruction must occur in stages, requiring a series of surgeries to create the ear from rib, skin and cartilage grafts. Hendon has had three surgeries and may need one more.
Stephanie continues to marvel at how, even at age 17, Hendon actually looks forward to his trips to Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “Everyone here makes him feel special and cared for. It is just the best place.”
Kaj was a healthy 7-month-old boy living with his parents in Evansville, Indiana, until one day in March of 2012 when their world changed forever.
That is when Kaj, strapped in his car seat, was severely burned in an accidental vehicle fire. His father was able to pull him from the fire and rushed Kaj to the nearest emergency room with life-threatening burn injuries.
Because 30% of Kaj’s burns were third degree, the doctors there said he would need to be transferred a burn specialty facility. Even with immediate treatment, they estimated he had 72 hours to live.
Within two hours of the fire, Kaj was on an emergency Life Flight destined for Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, where a team led by Kevin Yakuboff, M.D., FACS, FAAPS, stabilized and treated Kaj. Because of the skillful care he received at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj survived the first 72 hours and well beyond. Over the next seven years Shriners Hospital for Children – Cincinnati became a second home for Kaj and his parents. He has had 40 surgeries to treat his injuries, including skin grafts to scar releases.
Nothing could have prepared Kaj and his family for how their lives would change after that day. Finding a “new normal” following the accident took time, but with guidance from his medical team at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and social worker Donna McCartney, Kaj’s parents have been able to nurture both his physical recovery and his resilience through a childhood different from his peers.
Kaj, now 7 years old, is growing up with a kind heart, magnetic personality and strong spirit. Thanks to the family-centered care at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj parents are confident about his future, and proud to see him grow, thrive and feel comfortable in his own beautiful skin.
(CINCINNATI, Ohio; April 16, 2019) – Researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati were awarded First and Second place Overall for two research projects aimed at improving burn treatment outcomes. The awards were presented at the 51st annual American Burn Association (ABA) conference, held April 2-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The ABA annual conference highlights the latest developments in burn-related research, education, care, rehabilitation and prevention. There were 530 research abstracts from around the globe submitted for consideration, from which 292 were chosen for poster presentations at the conference. Cincinnati Shriners Hospital researchers won three Best in Category awards, two of which went on to take the First and Second place Overall.
The First-place Overall winning project, Combinatorial Use of CEAs with Dermal Substitutes Containing Dermal Papilla-like Structures, presented by Megan Malara, tested a new dermal graft material intended to improve outcomes for patients with large burns and insufficient non-burned skin for grafting. Cultured epithelial autograft (CEA) is a skin substitute used to speed wound closure in patients with very large burns, but it is thin and heals with more scarring than normal skin grafts. Preliminary findings show that the new dermal substitute, when combined with CEA, results in healed wounds that appear more like normal skin. Researchers on this project include Malara, Britani Blackstone, Molly Baumann, Danielle DeBruler, Kevin Bailey, Dorothy Supp and Heather Powell.
The Second-place Overall award, Pirfenidone Inhibits Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Genes in Keloid Keratinocytes presented by Latha Satish, focused on a potential treatment to reduce keloid scarring. Keloids are abnormal scars that can grow indefinitely and have a negative impact on quality of life. Results indicated that a drug called Pirfenidone may make keloid scar cells behave more like normal skin cells. This early step could lead to discoveries to treat or even prevent keloid scars. Researchers on this project include Satish, Alexander Evdokiou, Jennifer Hahn and Dorothy Supp.
“I am proud to see the work of our scientific staff recognized at this prestigious meeting,” said Dorothy M. Supp, PhD, Interim Director of Research for Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “These presentations exemplify the high quality of research performed by members of the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital scientific staff on a daily basis. These projects in particular offer the promise of improved treatments for patients with large burns or disfiguring scars.”
Tommy’s family makes its living on the water; in his hometown of Miami, Florida that is not unusual. His relatives worked together on their commercial boat, and when Tommy was old enough he often pitched in to help. One afternoon when he was eight years old, Tommy, his father and uncle were coming home from a day at sea. As they exited the boat, something caused its 300-gallon gas tank to explode. The accident severely injured both men as well as Tommy, who was burned on nearly 40 percent of his body.
Initially all three were treated at a local hospital, but it became clear that Tommy, whose injuries were the most acute, would need specialized, pediatric burn care. He was transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, where he could benefit from its decades of research and expertise in burn treatment.
For the next 13 years, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital became Tommy’s second home. Over the years, he and his parents traveled to Cincinnati from Florida for many additional surgeries, to release scars or receive laser treatments. He learned the names of nearly all his nurses and doctors, and they came to know him for his upbeat, can-do spirit. His family was also able to take advantage of follow-up appointments at semi-annual burn injury clinics held by Cincinnati Shriners Hospital staff at the Shriners’ Tampa hospital, which only treats orthopedic conditions. (Many pediatric burn patients from Florida are treated at the Cincinnati hospital, so these clinics were arranged to ease travel burdens.)
Social worker Lori Boerger had just started at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital when she first became Tommy’s Family Care Manager. “Tommy is a survivor in the broadest sense of the word,” she said. “I remember the first time we met: I was walking past his room, and noticed him with a small board game spread out on his bed. He saw me pass, jumped up and ran to the door, saying, ‘Hey- you want to play?’ He would even initiate conversations with other children who might feel anxious because of his scars. I knew this young man was going to be OK.”
Recently, Tommy returned to the hospital for one final release surgery before turning 21. While there, he made sure to see the people who had become like family to him, including his doctor, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital Chief of Staff Petra Warner, M.D. “She was almost like a second mother to me,” Tommy shared. “This trip was my first without my parents, and I was a little nervous. But Dr. Warner explained the procedure to me like I am an adult and I could tell by her face, she felt it was the right treatment for me.”
Tommy’s courageous spirit continues to be an inspiration. He plans to join the Coast Guard where he can serve his country and nurture his love of life on the water.
Six-year-old Reagan and her family are from a suburb of Cincinnati, so it was an adventure for parents Erin and Ryan to pile her, her three siblings and several cousins into the family car for an end-of-summer camping trip near Columbus, Ohio.
That evening, after a dinner of hot dogs and s’mores cooked over a campfire, the happy crew played nearby before heading to their tents for the night. Ryan is a firefighter, so Reagan and the other children were well versed in fire safety rules. However, twilight made it difficult to see the metal fire ring that encircled the smoldering hot coals. Reagan stumbled and fell into the ring and on the embers, receiving second and third-degree burns to the back of both legs.
Ryan grabbed her immediately and went straight to the nearest local hospital. “It all happened in a flash,” he recalled of the event. Once treated, the nurse asked where they would like to take Reagan for continuing treatment. Erin immediately requested Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati; she had a friend whose daughter had been recently treated for a coffee scald and knew it was the best destination for pediatric burns. They had an appointment two days later.
“With four children, we have had bumps, bruises and even stitches, but we never experienced anything like we did with Reagan’s accident,” Erin said. “I never knew how horrible burns were; how even the simple act of cleaning the wound causes excruciating pain. We are so grateful for what Shriners did for us.”
Fortunately, Reagan’s injuries were relatively mild and the family only had to make a few visits over a two-week period. Nevertheless, the kindness and superior care they experienced at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital stayed with them months after Reagan’s wounds had healed.
So when the holidays rolled around, Erin, who is a teacher at their area middle school, asked her students to gather donations for the hospital rather than gifts for her. They did not disappoint. Shortly after the holidays, Ryan delivered a large cart filled with games, books and craft items for other patients to enjoy. “It isn’t nearly enough to say thank you for all the wonderful work Shriners Hospitals do,” Erin said, “not only for our daughter Reagan, but for so many families across the country.”
Josie is an active 7th grader who enjoys soccer, basketball and competitive swimming. She is also bright and inquisitive, so when cabin fever set in on the week’s second sub-zero “snow day,” Josie decided to see for herself whether hot water tossed in the air would freeze, as she and her friends had seen on social media.
Her first attempt, using hot water from a single-cup coffee maker, was unsuccessful. Undeterred, she boiled water in a saucepan and took it to the back yard. She tried to swing the heavy pan out and in front of her, but the scalding water went straight up, coming down on her head and face.
Her mother Nikki correctly placed cool compresses on the burn area, but when pain persisted, she took Josie to the local pediatric hospital. There they recommended that Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati would be the best place for treatment.
Fortunately, Josie had only sustained 1st degree burns, which cause redness, pain and minor blistering, so she was treated and released that afternoon. Even small burns can become more serious if not treated properly. Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, and its half-century of superior pediatric care, is the right destination for nearly any burn, no matter the severity.
Josie and her mother Nikki were happy to share their story, especially during Burn Awareness Week, to remind others of the dangers of scalding water.
Landon was burned by hot water in a kitchen accident, injuring his left hand and arm. Fortunately, he is receiving treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, one of the country’s only freestanding pediatric burn treatment facilities and a premier destination for burn recovery.
Treating a major burn is a complicated process. In addition to the threat of infection, third degree burns must be treated with skin grafts taken from undamaged areas of the patient’s body. As both the injured and the graft sites heal, raised scars can develop. Among the weapons in the arsenal of scar management are compression garments, which can smooth scars’ raised appearance.
Cincinnati Shriners Hospital was the first in the 22-hospital system to add an on-site garment sewing room. These garments are not “one-size-fits-all.” Highly trained garment technicians precisely measure and sew each piece to fit a child’s area of treatment, which could mean socks, gloves, vests or even head gear. They must fit very snugly and apply pressure evenly.
Wearing garments consistently is key to successful treatment. However, because the child must keep them on for 23 hours a day, often for a year or more, compliance can be difficult. To encourage young patients to wear their garments, our hospital technicians speak with each child, and then customize the pieces to reflect their interests and personality. In Landon’s case, he clearly loves Superman, but even without a cape, Landon is a super hero to us!
Once he graduates from compression garments, Landon can be treated with state-of-the-art laser therapy so the appearance of his scars continues to improve.
(CINCINNATI; July 24, 2018) – Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati is pleased to announce that Human Resources Manager Gretchen Long is one of two recipients of the 2018 Gary Willis Leadership Award from the American Society for Healthcare Human Resource Administration (ASHHRA). She was nominated by Kathy Zaeske, Director of Patient Care services for the hospital.
The award recognizes mid-level managers and directors who have made outstanding leadership and operations contributions to their organization. It includes a $1,000 cash prize as well as a feature article in the winter issue of HR Pulse magazine.
Long was selected for her commitment to the healthcare HR community, stated Catherine Carruth, ASHHRA Executive Director. She will be recognized at the 54th Annual ASHHRA Conference and Exposition in Pittsburgh, PA, September 16 through 18.
“Gretchen has always been a great advocate for our employees; she recognizes that our staff members are the hospital’s best assets and consistently supports efforts to enhance their career skills, said Mark Shugarman, Administrator for Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati. “When our people do something remarkable, which they often do, Gretchen is their biggest cheerleader.”
(CINCINNATI; July 31, 2018) Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati is pleased to welcome Dr. Scott J. Rapp to its surgical team as an attending pediatric plastic surgeon/senior investigator.
Dr. Rapp is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and licensed to practice medicine in California, Kentucky, and Ohio. He earned an undergraduate degree at Miami University, magna cum laude, and a medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Following an integrated plastic, reconstructive and hand surgery residency at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Dr. Rapp completed a pediatric cleft and craniofacial fellowship at Stanford Medical Center.
He is a member of the American Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Association.
Chief of Staff Dr. Petra Warner said, “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Rapp to Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. His expertise in plastic care and reconstruction, along with his research interest in improving craniofacial and wound outcomes, will benefit our patients and make him a great addition to our plastic surgery team.”
Dr. Rapp also performs volunteer mission work at the William Solar Children’s Hospital in Havana, Cuba, and is a former professional soccer player.
Two years ago, Crimson’s family survived a home fire. Although everyone made it out, 13-year-old Crimson was burned on more than 30 percent of her body with second and third degree burns. Crimson was airlifted to the University of Alabama’s Children’s Hospital burn unit.
After five days at the Alabama hospital, the surgeon there recommended that, for the best possible outcome, she be transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati. Crimson had five surgeries and endured intense physical therapy, learning to walk again. Today she is learning to live her life as a burn survivor. She is still receiving treatment for scar management that will continue for the next few years.
The night before Crimson and her mother left the hospital from their four-week in-patient stay, her mother left this note for the staff:
To All of Shriner’s Staff,
THANK YOU!! Those two words are not enough for what you have done for my daughter & my family. I was terrified when we first arrived. I was scared to be so far away from home without my support group (family), little did I know you all would become exactly that for Crimson & our entire family. I had no idea what to expect. Not only were the medical staff extremely above & beyond my expectations in the clinical care but also in the emotional care. To have a surgeon, nurse, resident offer ME coffee, let me cry on their shoulder & just sit & talk with me was so wonderful. Having nurses who actually cared what Crimson’s interests were and shared their own interests. When I say nurses, I actually mean every member of her care (PT, OT, child life, family services, photography, nutrition, custodial, security, the list is never ending.) We are blessed & honored to have ya’ll in our corner and a part of our family. This is an amazing place. The love just pours out all around. I just want you to know as we leave we will be carrying a piece of Shriners with us to share with everyone we see.
Love & gratitude until next time,