Patient Stories 

The many children we are privileged to care for are all as unique as the health issues they face. Here are some of their inspiring stories.

Daytona Beach boy born with complex heart defects thriving after multiple surgeries at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

This is Derrick - pediatric cardiovascular surgeons at the Terry Heart Center at Wolfson Children's Hospital made it possible for him to be a thriving 4-year-old today

Derrick Schachte was born in 2011 with four heart defects that endangered his life, and required several open-heart surgeries to repair. Added to that were immune and blood clotting disorders that made treating him more difficult because of a higher infection risk, and extra measures that had to be taken to prevent clots from building up in his heart shunt. Derrick’s case is one of the most complex ones pediatric cardiovascular surgeons at the Terry Heart Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital have seen, but thanks to their expertise and care, he is thriving as he nears his fourth birthday. Read Derrick’s story here.

Georgia girl battles same brain tumor twice in one year

This is Jaya - her brain tumor returned but pediatric neurosurgeons at Wolfson Children's removed it for good with intraoperative MRI technology

For the first five years of her life, Hazlehurst, Ga. girl Jaya Wooten was the picture of health. That all changed the night she had a massive seizure, and doctors found a grade II oligodenodroglioma in the front lobe of her brain. Difficult to remove because of how it blended in with her brain tissue, the first attempt at a Georgia hospital to take it out was not successful. When the tumor returned several months later, Jaya came to the Walter and Michelle Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson Children’s Hospital where pediatric neurosurgeons used image-guided neuro-navigation technology along with intraoperative MRI (iMRI), allowing them to navigate more accurately, and to take scans during the surgery to ensure the entire tumor was gone. More about Jaya here.

Jacksonville boy who received unexpected diagnosis on his eighth birthday in same boat as many children

This is Ethan - a trip to the Wolfson Children's Emergency Center found Ethan had developed Type 1 diabetes

When Ethan Brockman turned eight, he expected a party – not a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. A family friend noticed he had lost a lot of weight and when his mom shared that he was drinking and going to the bathroom more, suggested they get him checked out immediately. A trip to the Children’s Emergency Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital revealed that Ethan had an extremely high blood sugar level, and he was admitted and given insulin via IV. Since that day, Ethan and his parents have adjusted to the new normal of dealing with a life changing diagnosis but with the help of certified diabetes educators with the Northeast Florida Pediatric Diabetes Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, have learned how to keep Ethan’s condition under control. Ethan’s story.

Boy’s lifelong battle with rare blood disease ends with curative bone marrow transplant

This is Tyler - he overcame a rare blood disorder at Wolfson Children's Hospital

When 12-year-old Jacksonville resident Tyler Hangartner was diagnosed as a baby with congenital dyserythropoeitic anemia (CDA), an extremely rare blood disorder that causes a decline in both the number and quality of red blood cells, his only chance at survival was a monthly blood transfusion. But because of a generous donation of bone marrow from an anonymous donor two years ago, Tyler’s disease was cured with a bone marrow transplant. On November 16, Tyler celebrated his second “second birthday,” and hopes to meet the man who gave him the gift of life. See his story here.

Adult Congenital Heart Patient Putting Heart Into Motherhood

This is Rebecca - she overcame multiple congenital heart defects at Wolfson Children's Hospital

Once unsure if she would even live to adulthood, 24-year-old St. Mary’s, Ga. resident Rebecca Zwass-Brown has overcome multiple congenital heart defects and more than half-a-dozen surgeries, including a ground-breaking pulmonary valve replacement procedure done via catheterization at Wolfson Children’s Hospital that has allowed her not only to thrive, but to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother. Rebecca’s heartwarming story here.

Fortune Swings in Different Direction for Georgia Girl After Fall Prompts Discovery of Brain Tumor

This is Hannah - this little girl conquered a brain tumor at Wolfson Children's Hospital

When Jesup, Ga. girl Hannah Phillips fell off a swing and hit her head three years ago, her parents were upset that she might have a concussion. But when the resulting CT scan uncovered a lemon-sized brain tumor instead, they turned to the specialists at Wolfson Children’s Hospital who were able to shrink her tumor with chemotherapy, and remove most of it in a complicated surgery. Today, five-year-old Hannah is a normal little Kindergartener with hope for the future, and many more swing rides ahead of her. Hannah’s story.

Orange Park girl learns how to put a positive label on Type I diabetes

This is Xoe - this little girl learned to deal with diabetes and food allergies

Orange Park fourth grader Xoe Brown knows more about food than most little girls her age having been diagnosed with food allergies at age two, and Type I diabetes on her seventh birthday. But rather than let it take her joy of food away, Xoe has become a nutrition label expert and prepares her own school lunches, gaining as much control possible over a disease that easily takes charge. More about Xoe.

Keystone Heights boy with drop foot finds slam dunk with nerve stimulation device

This is Ethan - this young man through physician therapy and treatment at Wolfson Children's Hospital overcame a physical challenge

Born with a condition that affects the muscle tone on his right side, 12-year-old Ethan Touchton used to have difficulty lifting his right foot all the way when walking or running. That changed this summer when his physical therapist at Wolfson Children’s Rehabilitation in Mandarin introduced him to a new nerve stimulation device that signals the nerves in the leg to activate his muscles. Now Ethan is keeping up with his friends on and off the basketball court. More about Ethan’s moves.

 
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