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Kaj Kaj

Kaj’s Story

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

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.

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Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati researchers take top awards at international burn conference

OSU(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.

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“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.”

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital enters MOU with Dayton Children’s- Move a part of trend toward more outpatient treatment

(CINCINNATI, Ohio; March 13, 2019) – Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Dayton Children’s Hospital to explore relocation to the Dayton, Ohio pediatric hospital.  Once binding legal documents are complete, Cincinnati Shriners would lease and occupy separate space on the Dayton campus, remaining a distinct hospital within a hospital.  It is estimated that a final move could occur within the next 16 months.  The pediatric specialty hospital, which provides care for burns as well as cleft lip and palate and plastic and reconstructive surgery, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital Administrator Mark Shugarman said, “These changes are necessary to ensure that our hospital can continue to provide the finest pediatric specialty care for the next 50 years.  Current healthcare trends require us to adjust our delivery model to more accurately reflect today’s environment.”

Over the past decades, there has been a decline in the severity and number of pediatric burns in the U.S., especially those requiring a lengthy hospital stay.  This is due in large part to education and prevention efforts, many of which have been spearheaded by the Shriners Hospital system. This move will enable Cincinnati Shriners Hospital to deliver its specialty services more efficiently, purchasing certain services from the Dayton hospital.

“Trends in healthcare have shifted toward more outpatient care,” said Shugarman. “Today, approximately 85 percent of pediatric medical procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, including burn care.  The new location will allow Shriners Hospitals for Children to maintain its southwest Ohio presence with a surgical facility designed to meet and exceed today’s medical standards for its exceptional care.”

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital first opened in 1968 as the Shriners Burns Institute, a part of Cincinnati General Hospital, now called University of Cincinnati Medical Center.  It is one of four Shriners Hospitals specializing in pediatric burn treatment and has become the gold standard for childhood burn care as well as research on breakthroughs like engineered skin to replace grafting.

In 1992, the hospital moved into its current location at 3229 Burnet Avenue, expanding to include services including cleft lip and palate, specialty wound treatment and plastic and reconstructive surgery.  The hospital has always treated patients regardless of a family’s ability to pay, drawing from more than 26 states across the U.S. as well as countries around the world.

A timeline for the move has not yet been fully determined, but it is hoped that patients would be seen at the new location by summer of 2020. Until that time, both new and existing patients will continue to be cared for at the Burnet Avenue location.

# # # Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati provides services for burns and pediatric plastic surgery, including cleft lip and palate, abnormal breast development in boys and girls, hemangioma, congenital hairy nevus, hand malformations, ear deformities, complex wound and skin disorders, and trauma and reconstructive conditions.  Shriners Hospital for Children – Cincinnati is verified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons and is recognized as a Cleft Lip and Palate Team by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate Foundation.  The hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission. All services are provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay. For more information visit shrinershospitalcincinnati.org  
Tommy Tommy

Tommy’s Story

TommyTommy’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.

Josie Josie

Josie’s Story

JosieJosie 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.

Shriners Hospitals for Children–Cincinnati Human Resources Manager receives national recognition

gretchenaward(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.”

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