December 11, 2013Last year at this time we were enjoying the holiday season unaware of the tragedy about to unfold in Newtown, Connecticut at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. When it happened, it shook us to our core – 20 children along with 6 adults killed in a matter of minutes by a single gunman. In reaction to the emotion CHOP employees felt after Sandy Hook, our CEO, Steve M. Altschuler, MD, commented that, “We cannot let a sense of hopelessness overcome our ability to truly make a difference in an individual child’s life.” For this to stop, for children to stop being injured and killed by gunshot, bold action and change is imperative.
September 5, 201321 miles in 11 hours 28 minutes! That’s how long it took Ika Kovacikova to swim the English Channel in Mid-August to benefit CHOP’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP). As a 2012 alumna of CIRP’s Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supported by the National Science Foundation, Ika knew VIP was a cause that would inspire her to complete the crossing. Ika raised $600 (and still counting!) as her way of giving back to CIRP@CHOP and VIP.
June 4, 2013The three-year old boy had a low grade fever and runny nose. Mom was sleeping in the corner of the room when I came in and barely awakened when I knocked on the door. Our conversation was short and to the point as I went through my routine “it’s a virus, tincture of time” talk. Leaving the room, the mom asked me for a taxi voucher. She did not want to call Freddie’s father for a ride back. With one more question, easily skipped, I learned that she and the child’s father had been fighting about their son’s cough keeping him awake. Freddie’s father had kicked them out of the house to find a doctor to “fix him or I will fix him, and you.” Turns out that Freddie and his mom were living in a house of fear and uncertainty. We see kids like Freddie each day. Sometimes we can sense that something is off but are afraid to ask that next question. Oftentimes, we cannot see the problem until we ask the right questions. Emergency medical providers may not feel that learning about these issues is their role. The first part of addressing a “chronic illness” is recognizing it. The next time you get “that feeling” see what a few straightforward, respectful questions can reveal.
February 27, 2013Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim the English Channel? Imagine swimming 21 miles in 57-degree water with no wet suit, while negotiating tides in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Well, Ika Kovacikova, one of our 2012 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) participants, is taking on the challenge and dedicating proceeds from her English Channel swim to CHOP's Violence Intervention Program.