Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital physicians achieved an amazing accomplishment this year, providing lifesaving care to 14-month-old Amelia with an innovative procedure that had never been performed on a child so young.
The toddler was rushed to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital with an alarming problem: Her heart was beating at an accelerated 326 beats a minute. Amelia’s condition was life-threatening: Her particular arrhythmia – known as ventricular tachycardia – was not responding to medication. “Her chances of survival were very slim,” Amelia’s mother, Samantha, says. “Doctors at two other major children’s hospitals were consulted, and both provided no hope.”
But although pediatric cardiologist Ming-Lon Young, MD, director of Pediatric Cardiac Electrophysiology, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, knew Amelia’s condition was serious, he refused to give up. He assembled Memorial’s pediatric and adult cardiac teams to see if they could brainstorm a solution. The teams included:
“We knew we had to perform a ventricular tachycardia ablation on Amelia, but our challenge was one of engineering,” Dr. Benhayon says. “How could we get an adult-sized catheter into a toddler’s tiny heart?”
The answer was a uniquely multidisciplinary approach. The teams decided to perform an ablation procedure called a mini-thoracotomy. Drs. Young, Benhayon and Cogan inserted a catheter into the tip of the heart and, using imaging techniques, navigated inside, mapping the precise location of the arrhythmia and safely eliminating it with radiofrequency.
The groundbreaking procedure was a great success. “The doctors not only made history, they also opened a door for cardiologists around the world to save other children’s lives,” Amelia’s mom says. “I remember feeling that the surgical team’s joy was our joy.”
Drs. Alkon, Benhayon, Cogan, Latson, Scholl and Young published a report on the procedure in the March 2016 issue of Heart Rhythm Case Reports, a nationally peer-reviewed publication.
This procedure is truly representative of the complex cases we’re able to handle at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute. Our ability to approach such a case like Amelia’s in such an effective, multidisciplinary fashion demonstrates the full breadth of the services we’re able to offer.
Amelia’s case was the first of its kind in the whole world. With consultation and medication, she can look forward to living a normal life. Her treatment is indicative of the outstanding cardiac care we provide at Memorial, which is a tremendous resource for patients and families in South Florida.
Researchers estimate that nearly 2 million children and teens in the United States suffer a concussion – a mild traumatic brain injury – every year. The risk for sports-related concussion is highest in contact and collision sports, but a concussion can also result from a bike or car accident, or even from a simple playground fall.
To help treat children and teens with concussions from football, hockey, rugby, gymnastics and more, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s Concussion Clinic now provides multidisciplinary care from a world-class team who are experts in:
In four convenient locations – Hollywood, Coral Springs, Boca Raton and Weston – the Concussion Clinic provides fast and accurate treatment through an innovative triage system that gets the child to the right provider for the right reasons and at the right time.
If your son or daughter has signs or symptoms of a concussion – including a headache after an injury, difficulty in thinking clearly, dizziness or confusion – the child should immediately be evaluated by a healthcare professional. At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s Concussion Clinic, we can provide a full neurological evaluation – including neurocognitive testing – and a complete, physician-directed process of return-to-learning and return-to-sports, customized to each child’s individual case.
Parents of critically ill newborns can trust the experts in the Wasie Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital – the largest NICU in Broward County and a designated Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center.
In 2015, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital filled a community need by opening the Division of Pediatric Dermatology. Established by Latanya Benjamin, MD, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, it’s the only hospital-based pediatric dermatology practice in Broward County.
“It’s very convenient that patients have access to all other specialists under one roof,” said Dr. Benjamin. “You can get a diagnostic workup in-house and have immediate results accessible within our network.”
Dr. Benjamin’s expertise includes pediatric laser and skin surgery, birthmarks, childhood psoriasis, eczema, alopecia (hair loss), nail disorders, infantile hemangiomas and other vascular malformations.
Dr. Benjamin takes Memorial’s patient- and family-centered care approach to heart.
“Even simple acne can be a social burden,” said Dr. Benjamin. “There are many conditions that present a psychological burden, and we have to keep that in mind.”
Seeing kids get through this sensitive time is Dr. Benjamin’s sweetest reward.
“My personal mission is seeing children affected in a positive way, through their encounter with me,” she said.
Anaiah’s mother drove through a nighttime rainstorm to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Emergency Room where David Hooke, DO, diagnosed Anaiah’s breathing difficulties and eased her mother’s fears about Anaiah’s asthma.
Emma, 16, wants to reach the highest level of figure skating, and dreams of coaching the sport in the future. The hours on the ice, however, come with sacrifice.
She developed back problems, specifically intense tailbone pain.
“She could not stand the constant pain, which would worsen on the rink,” says Nicole, Emma’s mother.
She was referred to U18, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s sports medicine program.
“We have therapists who are specifically trained to treat those who participate in dance and the performing arts,” said Matthew Fazekas, MD, pediatric sports medicine specialist at U18.
The experts at U18 discovered that Emma had developed an injury caused by the high-impact movements that she repeated on the ice, including jumps and landings. Emma received the full spectrum of care from U18, including exercises to strengthen her lower back and advanced therapy methods.
“I am very happy with the help and support I received at U18,” Emma said. “Today I feel better, stronger than ever.”
When it mattered most, Joey's family trusted the expert physicians and team at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital to remove Joey's aggressive brain cancer tumor and save his life.