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Entries in Washington State (4)

Saturday
Jan192013

Community Rallies to Raise Money for Nine-Month-Old's Prosthetic Arms

Courtesy Davis Family(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- At 20 weeks pregnant, Brooke and Jim Davis of Spokane, Wash., knew their son, Jameson, would be born without arms months before he would come into this world.

"They basically said the ultrasound was inconclusive, that some things were inconclusive," said Jim."And they left the room and that was it. We didn't know for a week. Were his arms hiding? Were they in a funny position? Did he have any arms whatsoever?"

After a week, a geneticist expert explained to the Davis' that their son would be born a bilateral trans-radial congenital amputee or born without forearms or hands. After two miscarriages, Brooke was excited to finally be carrying for a third time--only to find her son would be born with difficulties.

"I have had a hard time coming to the realization that I will never ever get to hold my child's little hand in mine. I worry about how he will be able to pick up a spoon, a tooth brush, and someday ride a bike. The list goes on," said Brooke. "It was tough information to swallow when they told us he'd be missing the lower parts of his arm."

"He did have arms, he just didn't have any hands or fingers or digits," said Jim. "His arms stopped growing at the end of the humerus bones. He has a bit of soft tissue but no bones past the humorous."

As the first-time parents began to process the news, Jim says doctors wanted to send them to a place in Seattle to "look at their options" but Jim says abortion was "never, ever the answer."

"We turned that news into, 'This is our baby. This is what God gave us and we're going to raise him the best we can,'" said Jim. "For us, that's providing him with the best tools that are available for him to have the fullest life possible."

"We found out that they recommend starting prosthetics as soon as possible," said Brooke. "We decided to go that route and started pursuing prosthetic children's companies."

Throughout the rest of her pregnancy, Brooke and Jim began researching prosthetic options for their son. After a few failed options, Jim eventually found Advanced Arm Dynamics, a Texas clinic that specializes in upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation.

"They were wonderful and they specialize in upper extremity prosthetics," said Brooke. "It seemed like the perfect fit, so to speak."

Upper limb prosthetics for bilateral amputees can vary in price and cost between $10,000 and $25,000. In this instance, Jameson's prosthetics would cost the Davis' $25,000. Their insurance would only cover the cost up to 44 percent. To garner financial support and awareness, Brooke started a blog called, Davis Day 2 Day. The blog features updates on Jameson and a section called Hands for Jameson where visitors can donate to help purchase Jameson prosthetic arms.

"The first set of prosthetics will cost around $25,000. He will need a set every year until he is finished growing and each set will progressively get more expensive," said Brooke on a Nov. blog post. "We are unable to finance that kind of treatment, so we need to raise funds in order to complete our mission."

 

Brooke says that she and her husband are "on a very important mission to have Jameson fitted for both lower arm and hand prosthesis." She said they will be a "much-needed tool to help give him a better chance at a fuller, more normal life."

Brooke continued blogging and soon set up a donation section called "Hands for Jameson" where visitors can give money through a PayPal system. Once "Hands for Jameson" was posted on the site, the donations began pouring in.

"College friends I hadn't seen in 10 years sent us $200 and local people we've never met started sending money," said Jim. "We had a family mail us $100 and said they didn't need Christmas presents this year and wanted to give that money to Jameson instead of buying presents for each other. The stories go on."

Last year, baby Jameson was born on April 12, in Spokane, Wash. weighing six pounds 13 ounces. With her third prenancy, Brooke describes the beginning of this one as "a little rocky." Brooke bled daily throughout the first 13 weeks.

"Luckily, it was just one of those things and did not affect the baby. Thank goodness! After that it was smooth sailing," said Brooke. "When we hit 20 weeks our extreme excitement and happiness took an abrupt turn for the worst."

With enough money for a down payment on Jameson's first set of custom-made prosthetics, the Davis' drove seven hours with a teething toddler to Portland, Ore., to AAD's Northwest Center of Excellence. Over the course of three days, the Davis' met and eventually worked with certified prosthetist Mac Juilian Lang to fit baby Jameson who was only six months at the time.

"Jameson is the youngest patient I have personally worked with," said Lang. "I've worked with pediatric patients before but rarely do the parents have the foresight to search out care for their child that soon."

Lang said Jameson's passive arms prosthesis, which only move with the help of his parents, are comprised of three parts including a silicon liner, a socket and frame. Lang explains the liner takes up some of the excess room between Jameson's arm and the prosthetic. The other pieces are a socket and frame, which is the part that goes right up against the liner. "This creates the stability in the prosthetic and is the connection between his arm and the prosthetic." Lang says it's important for the prosthetic to be comfortable and stable "otherwise he won't use it."

"It's rare to have your child missing one hand, it's really rare to have them missing both," said Jim. "We're just giving him the options to do both--use prosthetics now or just his God-given arms later."

Now Jameson is 9-months-old and the Davis' say he's hitting all his regular milestones and "uses his short arms just like had fingers." As Jim and Brooke watch Jameson with his first set of prosthesis, they see he's able to hold his toys while exercising hand-eye coordination and balance all while strengthening his back muscles.

When Jameson is about a year and a half old, he will have outgrown his current set of prosthesis. The next set will feature at least one Myoelectric arm, which is a prosthetic that will be fully operated by Jameson himself. His current set are passive arms which must be manually adjusted for him by Jim and Brooke.

In the meantime, the Davis' are planning ahead and organizing fundraising efforts over the following months. Next month, the Davis' will hold an event called High 5's and a Thousand Hearts for Jameson.

"Jameson is beautiful, healthy and perfect in every way to us. We have to look at doing things a little bit differently," said Brooke. "We have to stay positive and be role models for him. I think kids and adults will look up to him and be inspired by him."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May042012

Emergency Funds Released to Curb Whooping Cough

Office of Gov. Chris Gregoire(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is tapping into emergency funds to help contain a whooping cough epidemic spreading throughout the state. The $90,000 in crisis cash will be used to boost vaccination awareness.

“These actions will help state and local health leaders get vaccine into people’s arms so we can stem the tide,” Gregoire said Thursday in a statement.

Washington has seen more than 1,130 cases of whooping cough this year, up from 117 cases in the same stretch last year.

“I’ve been following the epidemic closely and the continued increase in cases has me very concerned about the health of our residents. I’m especially concerned about the vulnerable babies in our communities that are too young to be fully immunized,” Gregoire said.

Whooping cough is the unofficial moniker for pertussis, a contagious bacterial infection that causes uncontrollable coughing interrupted by whooping gasps for air. The infection is preventable with the dTap vaccine, a series of five shots that boost immunity against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

The first dose of dTap is given two months after birth, making infants particularly vulnerable to whooping cough from unvaccinated adults. About 75 percent of newborns who come down with whooping cough catch it from a family member, studies found.

“Pertussis is very serious, especially for babies. It’s vital that teens and adults are current on their immunizations because they’re often the ones who give whooping cough to babies,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement.

The state Department of Health has pledged an additional $210,000 to the vaccine awareness effort.

“In my 13 years as secretary, this is the first time I’ve had to use the word ‘epidemic’ about disease in our state,” Selecky said. “We’re headed for unprecedented numbers of cases. We’ve got to keep spreading the word to help prevent the spread of illness.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the redirection of federal funds designated for other immunizations to buy more than 27,000 doses of pertussis vaccine for adults who are uninsured or underinsured, Gregoire said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar292012

Washington State Hit Hard by Whooping Cough

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Whooping cough is spreading throughout the country, and now the extremely contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing is hitting the state of Washington particularly hard.

Numbers released this week show that whooping cough cases have risen to 549 in 2012.  At this time last year, there were 88 pertussis cases in the state, said Tim Church, communications director of Washington’s Health department.  The annual number of cases will likely exceed the 950 yearly total that the state saw in 2011.

“We’re seeing a nasty streak in pertussis cases and we’re absolutely concerned about it,” Church told ABC News.

Church said kids need to be protected on both sides, and the health department is encouraging all parents and adults to make sure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations.

“The vaccine we get as children typically wears off as an adult,” said Church.  “You’re no longer immune, and, if you do get whooping cough, the folks around you are in danger, as well.”

Doctors typically give whooping cough patients five days of antibiotics.  Health officials encourage the entire family of the patient to go on antibiotics, as well.  But more importantly, get vaccinated, they say.  The dTap vaccine, a shot that prevents diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, is readily available to the public.

Church said the health department is currently on a media blitz to make sure the public is aware of the rising pertussis cases.

“We are working on a radio PSA announcement and aggressively reaching out to media,” said Church. “We have had calls with local health departments to make sure we’re all on the same page and we’re providing additional information to health care providers and centers on the vaccine.”

While people of all ages can come down with whooping cough, even if they’ve been vaccinated, it’s particularly dangerous for newborns’ systems because they don’t have the immunity or vaccine to fight off the infection.  Studies show that about 75 percent of newborns that come down with whooping cough get it from a family member.  Of all deaths from pertussis between 2004 and 2008, 83 percent were children less than 3 months old.

Because of the high rate of whooping cough in infants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that pregnant mothers get vaccinated with dTap.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct022011

Doctors Sue Over ER Limits in Washington State

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- The American College of Emergency Physicians is suing the state of Washington in an effort to overturn the decision that low-income Medicaid patients will be limited to three non-emergency visits to the emergency room each year, which went into effect Saturday.

The suit seeks to get rid of the limit, which it says puts patients at risk.

The limit, which was created to reduce costs in emergency rooms, comes with a new list of 700 non-emergency symptoms, including difficulty breathing, dizziness, early-pregnancy hemorrhage, gall stones, abdominal pains and chest pains not related to a heart attack.

Patients with any of the 700 symptoms are urged to visit the regular doctor's office instead of the emergency room.

But doctors say patients may not be able to tell if their symptoms are indicative of an emergency.

"The ACEP is opposing the limit primarily because of the list of diagnoses that the state is proposing to be non-emergencies, like chest pains and heart arrhythmias and dysrhythmias, which can result in sudden death, sudden blindness, and hemorrhages during miscarriage," ACEP Washington Chapter president Steve Anderson said. "Their proposal is dangerous. It's almost funny it's so scary they would have them on the list."

The limit, which will cut $72 million in state and federal funds, is included in the 2011-13 Washington State budget.

"We want to save the state money. We want to work with the state," Anderson said. "But they were given a number to reach for the budget, and the only way to do so was to add diagnoses to the list that they originally decided were unquestionably emergencies. That's where we have to draw the line."

The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), and the Washington Chapter of the Academy of Emergency Physicians (WCAEP) have also released statements saying they object to the change.

"We share the state's goal of reducing preventable emergency room visits. However, this benefit limit is not a reasonable approach to the problem," read a statement on the WSHA website.

"[The list] contains many emergency conditions such as chest pain, women having miscarriages, and children who are ill and in pain," the statement read. "In addition, the list creates a public health concern as patients who have sexually transmitted diseases are being asked to wait until they can get a primary care office visit."

If a Medicaid patient comes in for a fourth emergency room visit with non-emergency symptoms, he or she will be treated, but the state won't pay the hospital. Instead, the hospital will have to pay for it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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