Pediatric patient stories

  1. Caleb Ragaller and his family

    Small Bump becomes Big Problem

    What began as a small, painless bump turned into a grueling 9.5-hour surgery for 3-year-old Caleb Ragaller (now 6). Caleb was born with a nasal dermoid cyst. Because superficial dermoid cysts are typically slow-growing and can be removed without complication, Caleb’s treatment plan appeared to be pretty straightforward. “We would go in for normal checkups [...]

  2. A Second Opinion for Trevor

    Shortly after he was born in early 2008, Trevor King was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a condition that could cause sudden cardiac death. He may be the youngest patient ever to get a pacemaker-defibrillator, a device that sends an electric shock to the heart when it detects a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm. But in [...]

  3. Teen Perseveres Surgeries to Straighten Legs

    Last year, when Dr. Amy McIntosh watched me walk down the hall with my extremely bowed legs, it was obvious to her that I needed surgery. Without the surgery, my legs would be subject to joint and knee pain when I got older. It was my senior year in high school, and I was a [...]

  4. Ali Szewczynski

    Pen pals share experiences with congenital heart defects

    Born almost 60 years apart, pen pals Carol Allan and Alli Szewczynski share an unusual bond. Both were “blue babies,” born with heart defects that impaired proper blood circulation, causing a blue tinge to their skin. And both had successful life-changing surgeries at Mayo Clinic. Carol Allan’s story Carol, 68, of Calgary, Alberta, was diagnosed [...]

  5. Dr. Michael Ackerman and Stefani

    A Prom Promise Kept

    As an 8-year-old girl from Michigan was headed into surgery for a heart transplant, she asked Mike Ackerman -- a pediatric cardiology fellow at Mayo who was part of her care team -- if she was going to live. Dr. Ackerman said, "Of course you're going to live, and I'm going to dance with you [...]

  6. Abby and Belle Carlsen: Three Years Later

    Abbigail and Isabelle Carlsen of Fargo, North Dakota, returned to Mayo Clinic yesterday and today with their parents Jesse and Amy for their three-year checkups. The formerly conjoined twins were separated at Mayo Clinic on May 12, 2006 in a daylong operation. Reporter Matt Russell from the Rochester Post-Bulletin interviewed the family after the girls’ last [...]

  7. Rehab Program Helps Texas Teen Learn to Manage Chronic Pain

    Austin Horton’s adolescence was dominated by pain. More than a dozen specialists — among them an orthopedist, rheumatologist, pain doctor, psychiatrist and acupuncturist — couldn’t offer much relief or even a definitive reason for the pain. Relief finally came from the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. “It helped me get my [...]

  8. Grateful Family Says Mayo Clinic Care and Ketogenic Diet Brought Their Son Back To Them

    Less than a year ago, four-year-old Max Irvine was having hundreds of seizures a day … he couldn't walk, talk or chew his food. A previously healthy and active preschooler, Max has epilepsy. The Irvines were told by one epilepsy specialist that their son would become mentally incompetent from his seizures. Thankfully, they refused to [...]

  9. Jayden Gonzalez and his parents

    Toddler diagnosed with aggressive brain tumor

    Viola and Felipe Gonzalez were stunned when their youngest son's persistent flu-like symptoms were diagnosed as a brain tumor. The vomiting, holding his head while crying and unsteadiness weren't just a toddler's brush with the flu bug. A CT scan at the local pediatrician's office showed a mass the size of a quarter on Jayden's [...]

  10. Danielle Roeder

    Jubilant First Steps

    Greg and Suzanne Roeder were in tears when their daughter took her first steps. It's natural to get choked up when a child demonstrates her vertical independence. But the Roeders were especially emotional because Danielle was seven years old when she made those monumental strides. Danielle once needed to use a wheelchair, but was freed [...]

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