It's About Children - March, 2020
by Madison Murray
Hydrocephalus is a lifelong condition where fluid builds up and creates pressure on the brain and spinal cord. The only way to relieve this pressure is with a shunt (a series of tubes that moves excess fluid from the brain to elsewhere in the body, where it can be absorbed properly). Allison was just six weeks old when her first shunt was placed.
Neurosurgical patient, student, non-profit founder, advocate.
Allison has done a lot while battling a brain condition, but her biggest accomplishment is the legacy she’s built at Children’s Hospital.
Allison’s parents brought her to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital with a fever and seizures at just 12 days old. Once she was admitted into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), the specialists there diagnosed her with a rare strand of bacterial meningitis, which quickly developed into hydrocephalus.
“East Tennessee Children’s Hospital became our second home,” Allison’s mother says. “Everyone was there for us through it all and I’m not sure what we would have done without them.”
Allison, now a pre-med student at the University of Tennessee, is studying biochemistry. The junior is also involved in biomedical research on shunts so that she can one day develop a shunt with a better success rate.
“She knew she wanted to become a pediatric neurosurgeon in the second grade,” says her mother.
“I want to work alongside those who helped me,” Allison adds.
The enthusiastic student is always working toward something. Her passion has driven her to become an advocate for patients with invisible illnesses, and to launch a non-profit that provides patients with personalized stuffed animals.
“It’s important to advocate for others, because not all children have the same resources,” says Allison. “I want to remove the stigma of ‘but you look fine,’ because not every condition is visible.”
Hospitalists earn new certification
Dr. Julia Arana and Dr. Priya Gyani
Dr. Julia Arana and Dr. Priya Gyani joined 1,500 pediatric hospitalists nationwide as the first to receive the distinction of certified pediatric hospitalist from the American Board of Pediatrics.
The application process required four years of active experience in the field and an extensive exam, which was offered for the first time last November.
What is a hospitalist?
Hospitalists are doctors who devote their practice to caring for children who are hospitalized. Patients who are admitted to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital may be assigned a hospitalist, whose entire focus is caring for them during their stay and helping families navigate the hospital setting.
Local teens impact patient-centered care
The Children’s Hospital Teen Advisory Council is made up of teenagers who are either current patients or siblings to current patients at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
This group of young influencers has provided feedback on their experiences -- including clinic visits, inpatient stays and visits to the emergency department -- to better impact patient care.
Dine and Donate
In honor of the new year, stop by any participating Panda Express restaurant in 2020 to make a special donation to Children’s Hospital.
East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is a proud member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, an organization that helps bring national money to local children’s hospitals. When you see this balloon, know that every dollar raised goes to your Children’s Hospital.
Kids Helping Kids
January 25th marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year. One local boy celebrated the holiday by donating $160 of his New Year’s present to “help contribute saving a life at the Children’s Hospital.” Thanks, Ian!
Find more ways to give at etch.com/giving
It’s About Children is produced by the Marketing Department at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Editor: Leandra Wilkins
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