A Bold Vision for Pediatric Care
Gifts From Community Help Smallest Patients
The arrival of baby Mateo was a highly anticipated event. Mom said he was perfect: 10 fingers, 10 toes and a strong set of lungs.
A few hours later, though, Mateo was fussy and vomiting, and he wouldn’t eat. By the next day, he hadn’t passed a bowel movement and his belly was swollen. His parents, Kayla and Carlos Guerrero, became worried.
After several surgeries, doctors determined that Mateo had a rare and serious disease occurring in only 1 in 5,000 births and fatal if not treated properly. He would need special treatments and surgeries throughout his life. Unfortunately, at the time, the Guerrero family had to drive hundreds of miles to Portland for Mateo to receive his care.
Care Takes Toll
Caring for a sick child like Mateo is one of the most draining and difficult tasks parents can face. Beyond handling the physical challenges and medical needs of their child, family dynamics can also be severely tested. Clinic visits, surgical procedures and frequent checkups throw big kinks into everyone’s schedules, and they also take an emotional toll on the entire family.
These challenges are even greater for families who need to travel outside of the area to receive treatment for a child. Access to local health care has a huge impact upon a child’s recovery from illness. A 2013 study published in Families, Systems and Health, an American Psychological Association journal, found that parents of sick children believe that their child healed faster and coped better when they were able to be present for even a portion of a child’s illness.
Donors Help Enhance Care
Sacred Heart’s pediatric services have recently expanded, thanks to community support.
For Mateo and his family, the addition of several specialists, including pediatric surgeon Dr. Garret Zallen, have made a world of difference. Instead of traveling to Portland three to four times a month, Mateo can receive his treatment from Dr. Zallen at RiverBend—with his family nearby.