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The Wisdom of Families: Children’s Care is a Family Affair
by Trillium Hibbeln on 10/27/2010 at 7:19 AM

When I noticed something just was "not right" about my newborn daughter when I brought her home from the hospital, I learned an important lesson: to trust my mother's instinct, that gut feeling.

As families, we know our children better than anyone, we can tell with just a glance or by our child's tone of voice when they don't fell well.

My doctor validated my concerns and sent us directly to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.  I watched in amazement as a team of specialists surrounded Sofina and went right to work to save her life. Later, when Sofina was three she had open heart surgery, and you can see from the picture that she came through with flying colors.

Think of an entire hospital that puts families at the center of their child's care. At Helen DeVos Children's Hospital family-centered care is based on the core idea that the family knows best.

Our doctors and nurses put families at the head of the child's care team. They encourage families to participate in all of the care decisions, to speak up and ask questions.

Most important, we want families to share their wisdom with us. And we encourage as much as possible that families carry on their own traditions, and create as much of a home-like environment as possible.

We encourage parents to "room-in" with the child, have family meals together and provide the basic care of bathing, diaper changing and other duties they do at home.

Can you share a story about how you trusted your gut instinct about your child and it made all the difference?

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Comment posted by Nina on 11/04/2010 at 8:36 PM
Several months ago my son woke up from his nap happy but then within minutes was burning up with fever. I *knew* this was not a normal fever, skipped the tylenol and went straight to Motrin but immediately after giving it to him I felt an overwhelming need to get him to a hospital. We were visiting family 1.5 hrs from HDVCH and half way there he was showing signs of respiratory distress so we took him to the nearest ER. They quickly diagnosed him with sepsis and wanted to admit him immediately, we asked to be transfered to HDVCH because we knew it was the better place for him based on past stays there. The transfer went flawlessly and the doctors and nurses took the infection head on, did a great job caring for him and he was spared the usual course of sepsis resulting in our shortest stay ever, just three days! We thank God for HDVCH :)
Comment posted by Mimi Rassi on 10/27/2010 at 11:42 AM
When my son, Brandt was born in 2008, my husband and I immediately felt something was funny about his head shape. It was long and skinny and had a ridge running down the middle. Two pediatricians examined him and told us everything was fine. Still, I knew something was not right. When he was 8 weeks old (my only explanation as to why it took me that long is post-partum haze) I typed "skinny infant head" into Google and could not believe what I found. Photo after photo of babies whose heads looked exactly like Brandt's. Something called craniosynostosis, a condition in which bones in the skull fuse prematurely, potentially leading to pressure on the brain, seizures, and developmental disabilities. The only way to correct it is with complete skull reconstruction in infancy. I marched immediately into our pediatrician's office, carrying multiple Internet printouts about this condition. An x-ray confirmed what I diagnosed easily, once I knew what I was looking for. Brandt had surgery at 5 1/2 months old at HDVCH with an amazing team of doctors and medical professionals taking the world's best care of him. He is now a healthy, happy 2 1/2 year old with a perfectly shaped head. I thank God for giving me the mother's instinct to know something was not right...and for leading us to HDVCH for such wonderful care. Mimi Rassi, Child Life Specialist at HDVCH
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