Why I practice pediatric critical care medicine

By: Dr. Abboud

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with a former patient of mine and his family.  Landon Reece is an 8 year old young man who was kicked in the head by a horse on June 17, 2012.  I was the intensive care doctor on call that day.

When I arrived at the trauma bay, I heard about Landon and the extent of his injury.   During my examination, I pulled back the dressing on his head and saw a severe trauma to his skull and brain.   When he came to the hospital, he was unconscious, unable to breathe well on his own and bleeding from the left side of his head.  The bone covering that side was shattered by the blow from the horse’s kick.

As can be imagined, his parents were devastated.  It wasn’t apparent early on if Landon would even survive his injuries and how serious they were.

I met with his parents, Misty and Jeff, to discuss his history and tell them about his injuries.  You could see the shock and devastation on their faces.  You go from riding a pony to a life and death situation.  As the PICU (Pediatric intensive are unit) doctor, I have to explain his injuries, prepare his family for the worst, ensure them that we are doing the best we can, and hope for the best.  I quickly realized that they probably only heard about 20 percent of what I said and that I would need to reinforce the information and assure they understood the scenario.

Fortunately, as horrible as his injuries were, they were not as extensive as they could have been.  He was taken immediately to the operating room for stabilization and then several weeks in the PICU in critical condition followed by many weeks of rehabilitation.

I am really proud of how far Landon has come.  One year later his family is jubilant at his progress as he continues to improve.  I was thrilled to see his smiling face and personality shine through when we spent some time together this past July.  I am confident that Landon will continue to improve with his supportive parents and his will to survive.

Accidents and tragedies are a part of life and unavoidable.  By nature of critical care, we take care of the sickest children in the hospital.  Although we do have our sad cases, for the most part our patients do remarkably well.

Many people ask me “why do you work in the ICU, it is so sad.” My reply is “Because of patients like Landon Reece”.   Kids are so resilient!

Please enjoy this short video about Landon’s amazing recovery.

By: Patricia Abboud, MD – “Dr. Mom Squad”

Dr. Abboud is a pediatric intensivist at Dayton Children’s and the mother of three kids. As part of the “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Abboud blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Abboud!

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