October 11th, 2016
When he was born 13 years ago, Connor Johnson was a "miracle baby,’ according to his parents. Kathleen and Curtiss Johnson had struggled for years to become and stay pregnant. They had given up hope, when they discovered they were nearly four months along.
The miracle of Connor’s life took on new poignancy in the fall of 2015, when the young teen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood brain cancer. Despite the seriousness of the tumor, an intensive treatment regimen at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus involving brain surgery and proton beam therapy, provided Connor and his family the promise of a brighter future. Read the rest of this entry »
October 29th, 2015
Some 100 miles to the north, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dave Patel, M.D., a Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist, also was getting ready to celebrate Halloween with his 10-month-old son, something he had long-planned with his family. And he had made a pledge to not be a slave to his cell phone that night.
Neither Brianna nor Dr. Patel knew their lives would soon intersect – in a profound and dramatic way. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8th, 2015
In many ways, Jenny Peterson was like other mothers of young children. She cooked and baked, cleaned and washed clothes, and cheered her children on from the sidelines of their activities. In one significant way, though, Jenny was different: She did all of these things without sight.
Jenny lost her vision in 1976, after having a severe reaction to antibiotics. "I developed toxic epidermal necrolysis, and lost 100 percent of my skin, my hair and fingernails," says Jenny, a resident of Vermillion, South Dakota. She was just 23 at the time. Her children, just 2 and 5.
The antibiotics were meant to treat a sore throat. But her reaction was life-threatening. It caused Jenny's skin and mucous membranes to blister and peel. It also caused scarring in both of her eyes. She walked out of the hospital after 96 days, alive but functionally blind. "I could see shapes and light, but that was about it," she says. "I could walk around my own home, but I couldn't drive. I couldn't read. I couldn't see my children clearly." Read the rest of this entry »
May 29th, 2015
In April 2013, the International Services Office at Mayo Clinic received a copy of an article from a Gambian newspaper. In the article, a father begged for help for his 2-year-old daughter, Aisha. She was born with a ventricular septal defect – a hole in the heart that occurs in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. Large ventricular septal defect require surgery to prevent complications.
Aisha needed a heart surgery that no hospitals in her home country could perform, and the family was unable to raise the funds for her to travel elsewhere for care. Eventually, her uncle reached out to Mayo Clinic for help.
Frank Cetta Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiologist, reviewed the case and gladly accepted it. Then the International Appointment Office went to work to find a Mayo-sponsored charity that would fund her care. Cindy Kendall of the International Office called Kate Welp, a nurse in Cardiovascular Surgery, who also founded the nonprofit Hands for Humanity. Without hesitation, Welp agreed to sponsor Aisha and her family. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: Cardiac Surgery, Del Wibben, Dr. Allison Cabalka, Dr Brian Mohoney, Dr Eric Towe, Dr Frank Cetta Jr, Dr Joseph Dearani, Humanitarian Outreach, International Medicine, Kate Welp, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, pediatric cardiology, Ventricular Septal Defect
June 24th, 2014
Audrey Dean has been a lifelong advocate for social justice. After a notable career in social work, she earned a law degree and became senior counsel for the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 1992. At age 75, she is still arguing cases — some before the Supreme Court of Canada. “It’s fortunate that the government of Alberta doesn’t have mandatory retirement,” she says wryly.
The Alberta government had no intention of ending Audrey's career. But in 2009, it looked as if failing eyesight might. The crusading lawyer, who had always had perfect vision, began having trouble reading and driving.
She consulted with a local ophthalmologist, who diagnosed cataracts and recommended surgery to remove them. But unconvinced of the diagnosis, Audrey sought a second opinion at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
This wasn’t her first experience with Mayo Clinic. Years earlier, her husband had consulted physicians there after learning he had cancer. And she had been seen doctors at Mayo about her own hearing loss — the result of radiation therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When she began having eye problems, she felt Mayo Clinic was the obvious choice. Read the rest of this entry »
December 15th, 2012
Life had literally been a blur for 87-year-old Maxine Kaehler for the past 18 years as three age-related eye conditions gradually worsened vision in both of her eyes. Her vision deteriorated so much that by 2008 she could not drive, or read the newspaper or a restaurant menu.
In May 2008, Maxine had a partial-thickness cornea transplant on her right eye to treat Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy. The results were almost instantaneous.
"After the transplant, I realized there were words on the buttons on my microwave, and then I looked at my dishwasher and noticed the same thing. I couldn't believe it. I was just pushing random buttons before because I couldn't read what was written on them," says Maxine with a laugh.
If you know Maxine, you know that seeing little details are important to her daily routine as a retiree. Some of her favorite hobbies include embroidering, playing cards with friends and cooking. Read the rest of this entry »
August 23rd, 2012
(written by Raquel Rivas - Mayo Clinic in Florida)
When most of us think about eye problems, we think about a trip to the eye doctor for a new eyeglass prescription. But for Sandy Blue, a rare eye condition posed a mystery that almost left her blind.
Blue, then 44, first noticed red streaks in her eyes as she got ready for work one morning in 2008. She thought she was just tired, but her eyes got progressively worse. Eventually, “the white part of the eyes went red like apples. ” She saw a local eye specialist in Savannah, Georgia, and was treated with antibiotics for eye redness and pain that spread to her ears.
“I saw eight different ophthalmologists over the next six months,” recalls Blue. Different eye drops did not help, and her eyes became “cranberry sauce red” and painful.
August 10th, 2012
There was no doubting the value of the team approach on the early morning of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
In what was otherwise a fairly routine procedure — cataract removal — this time required the assistance of the ophthalmologic surgeon, nurses, a cardiologist and a cardiac device specialist. The center of attention was the patient — 62-year-old James Billingsley, a Vietnam veteran with Type II diabetes, a hearing issue, a bad heart and cataracts.
The Mayo team had two important goals — safety and quality of life for Billingsley. Billingsley, thanks to a ventricular support device (VAD) to support his failing heart, had been granted "extra innings" in a life that includes a supportive family, friends and a passion for performing as part of the honor guard for commemorations such as Memorial Day.
Dave Patel, M.D., chair of Ophthalmology, was strongly motivated to improve Billingsley's sight so he could enjoy life. But Billingsley's surgery did not fall in the category of routine. Cataracts needed to be removed from both of his eyes, and Patel decided to do a double cataract surgery so Billingsley would not have to go through the procedure twice.
Billingsley's heart needed to be monitored, and safety was top priority. So a team converged to closely monitor blood pressure levels and intravenous meds. "This double cataract surgery on a patient with a VAD could not be done elsewhere in a traditional eye center because of the potential risks," Patel says. "Here, at Mayo Clinic, we have all the specialists coming together as a team for the safety of the patient in this special circumstance."
The surgery was a success. One day later, when Billingsley returned for a follow-up appointment, his spirits were high and his sight had already improved. In fact, one eye registered 20/20 and the other eye was almost as good. "It made a big difference. Now I can read, I can watch TV and it doesn’t feel like I’m looking through dirty glass. Dr. Patel did an excellent job."
November 8th, 2011
It was — and her vision was at risk.
On that day in September 2010, Mackenzie went to school as usual. She mentioned the spotty vision to her teacher, who sent her to see the school nurse. The nurse performed a vision test, which was normal, and sent Mackenzie home with a note alerting her parents about the eye screening.
August 6th, 2009
Doctors at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Minnesota are using a new technique to stabilize glaucoma and preserve vision.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly damages the vision. A leading cause of blindness, it occurs when the eye’s natural drainage system fails to work properly. Fluid builds up inside the eye leading to elevated pressure that can permanently damage the optic nerve. Read the rest of this entry »