Pediatric Patient Stories

A More Normal Life for Luke A More Normal Life for Luke

Dec 23rd, 2022

Almost 34 weeks into her pregnancy, Megan’s water broke. Panicked, knowing that she was about to deliver early, she was rushed to the hospital. It was not long before first-time parents Megan and Ryan welcomed twin boys, Luke and Jett, to their family in October 2021. After the boys’ surprising early arrival, Megan and Ryan…

Keeping Thea All Smiles Keeping Thea All Smiles

Mar 20th, 2020

Althea “Thea” Brown is all smiles. And her spunky personality along with her curiosity for the world around her will undoubtedly bring a grin to your face

Living With Gastroparesis Living With Gastroparesis

Dec 3rd, 2019

When Melanie Dickens was 10 years old, she fell off a pair of stilts and injured her left leg. The injury triggered complex regional pain syndrome and led to complications by revealing underlying issues with her autonomic nervous system from her genetic mutations — which are still poorly understood.

Kashton’s Story Kashton’s Story

Jun 20th, 2019

When a fall left Kashton with severe burns, UF Health pediatric surgeons provided the specialized care he needed to get back on his feet…

Burn survivor resumes life as an active teenager Burn survivor resumes life as an active teenager

Mar 2nd, 2017

Tyrone Crawford Jr. loves sports. Coming from an athletic family, the Tallahassee teenager played his first football game at age 6. It was a passion that would continue through his middle and high school years.

The Story of a Warrior Princess

Jan 11th, 2017

It was Labor Day weekend 2016. Lauren Seiler and her husband, Andy, were looking forward to spending the weekend with their three-year-old son and Andy’s family. Andy’s parents had rented a lake house on Marion County’s Lake Kerr, not too far from where the Seiler’s live. Lauren was 34 weeks pregnant with their second child,…

Miss K’s Choppers

Oct 24th, 2016

Nothing gives Kendall Lewis, better known as Miss K, more joy than seeing “her” helicopter flying high in the sky. And by “her” helicopter, we mean the ShandsCair chopper that serves the UF Health Shands Hospital.

Family travels from Russia to UF for baby’s lifesaving surgery Family travels from Russia to UF for baby’s lifesaving surgery

Sep 18th, 2012

David Kays, M.D., a pediatric surgeon at UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, treated Russian mom Elena Akmanova’s newborn, Eva, after the baby was diagnosed with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a condition that prevents proper development of the lungs.

Another chance for Olivia Another chance for Olivia

Aug 15th, 2012

Watching a Barney DVD in her bed, Olivia Salinas looks like a typical preschooler, except for the tracheostomy tube in her neck. But the 3-year-old girl from Tampa made history May 2, becoming the first child with Pompe disease in the world to have surgery to implant a diaphragm pacing system. Saleem Islam, M.D., an…

Breathing Free Again Breathing Free Again

Jan 13th, 2012

It was a week of firsts for 8-year-old Brian Stanzione — first plane ride, first stay in a hotel and first visit to Florida. But Brian was not flying from New Jersey to visit Disney World; he came to visit his dad, Michael Stanzione, 53, who became the first person with Pompe disease in the…

A risky journey and a happy ending A risky journey and a happy ending

Oct 3rd, 2011

Mandie and Robert Cokley and their son Patrick piled into their Lincoln Navigator on April 15 and began the 2,400-mile drive from their home in Bakersfield, Calif. to Gainesville. The couple was determined to arrive before the birth of their second son, due in just two weeks. Doctors in California had told them he had…

Growing up Growing up

Aug 20th, 2011

Underneath Jim Beau Reinhardt’s left lung, a synthetic patch stitched into place is helping him breathe. Jim Beau, who will turn 2 in November, was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia during his 34th week of gestation. Half of his left diaphragm, a muscle under the lung that moves involuntarily to aid in breathing, was…