Mollie’s story

Mary oversees the school nursing department for her Oakwood, Ohio school district. As a nurse, she assumed she knew about Shriners Hospital for Children — Cincinnati. “I always thought of it as the ‘burns’ hospital,” she said. So when Mary attended a presentation by Debbie Harrell, RN, MSN NE-BC, the hospital’s Director of Professional Relations at the Southwest Ohio School Nurses conference, she was surprised to learn there are many conditions treated at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, and that one of the offerings is corrective pediatric plastic surgery. She discovered that Shriners Hospitals would treat physical issues that damaged a child’s self-esteem or caused bullying, like her teenage daughter Mollie’s very large breasts.

Many private insurance companies consider breast reduction surgery a cosmetic procedure. Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati recognizes that a child’s quality of life shouldn’t depend on an insurance company’s approval.

“Since about her sophomore year in high school, Mollie would wear big shirts to hide her chest,” Mary explained. “She didn’t want to go to dances because she couldn’t wear the clothes in the teen department; she had to wear women’s sizes.” Mollie was active in sports, including cross-country track and basketball, and running was difficult and painful. She struggled with depression as a result of her appearance and discomfort.

When Mary learned that Cincinnati Shriners Hospital could offer her daughter a life without pain and embarrassment, she and Mollie talked about whether surgical breast reduction might be a solution.

They made an appointment to see Dr. Allison Lied, MD FACS at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “It is typical of girls with enlarged breasts to complain of shoulder, neck and upper back pain,” Dr. Lied explained. “They may avoid activities that make them extremely embarrassed, such as swimming, running or dancing. I have even seen young girls homeschooled because of severe embarrassment of their large breasts.” After speaking with Dr. Lied, Mollie made the decision to have the breast reduction surgery.

The first night was uncomfortable, but both Mary and Mollie say they couldn’t have asked for better care than they received at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “She was wonderful,” said Mary of Dr. Lied. “Conchi, Colleen . . . they were all so great,” Mary gushed as she tried to remember each name.

Eight weeks after her surgery, Mollie is now preparing for fall semester at the University of Cincinnati, armed with new confidence and self-esteem because of the expert care and unique compassion provided by the staff at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “It is rewarding to see the girls have a new sense of confidence postoperatively,” Dr. Lied added. And Mary now has a new tool in her arsenal as a school nurse. “Any family I see with a need, I now tell about Shriners Hospital for Children—Cincinnati. They aren’t just a burn hospital!”

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