What's wrong with Ethan?

That is the question his mother, Tiffany, kept asking over and over again. One January morning, 20-month old Ethan woke up and he was limping. “We went to his pediatrician even though he did not seem like he was in pain. This began the process of elimination to figure out what was the problem,” explains Tiffany.

After almost six months, many X-rays, plenty of blood work and visits to multiple specialists, Ethan was clearly getting worse. He was no longer walking and he wasn't gaining any weight.  The family was referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital. 

This is when Ethan and Tiffany met the Pediatric Sedation team at the Children's Hospital. “They were absolutely fabulous. They took the time to answer all our questions. They were just so reassuring because they have seen parents who are just so frustrated,” Tiffany says.

The Pediatric Sedation Service at the UM Children's Hospital provides safe, comfortable and convenient sedation for children who need outpatient CT's, MRI's and other diagnostic studies.  “We are staffed by experienced pediatric physicians and nurses. There is also a dedicated pediatric sedation area which makes it child-friendly and a comfortable environment for parents and their children.”

“The nurses, Janet Braun and Diane Constantine, have been the backbone of the program for the past 10 years.  Some children who have had prior scans are 'old pros' at the process and are just reassured by seeing the friendly faces of Janet and Diane. Other families like Ethan's are new to the service and are guided through the process step by step.  There truly is an art to sedation which Diane and Janet have mastered. This is so much more than just giving right medications in the right amounts.  This must be combined with reassurance and comfort as the family and the child are guided through the process,” adds Dr. Rafei.

“Once Ethan was given the medication orally, we needed him to fall asleep.  It took about 15 minutes and then he was able to have the MRI,” recounts Tiffany. “We brought along his favorite puppy, but it was clear Ethan was comfortable.  He was snuggling with the nurses.”

The MRI results were collected.  Later it was determined that Ethan has juvenile arthritis.  He has had courses of treatment and now he is running around like a 2-year old should be.  “We can't keep up,” says Tiffany who is very reassured now that she knows what was wrong with Ethan. 

More than 5000 children have been successfully sedated, helping provide answers as to what is wrong with them.  This sedation service at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital is a collaborative effort between the Divisions of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.