Gemma Shine, photoIn their words

Dan and Manda Shine
Conrad, Iowa

We first became involved with University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital on Oct. 18, 2017, when Gemma was 3 months old. We had been referred by our family physician after Gemma’s well-child checkup in September. 

We met with a pediatric neurosurgeon who confirmed a diagnosis of metopic craniosynostosis with trigonocephaly – the front suture of her skull had fused prematurely in utero and would need to be separated and reconstructed surgically. A few weeks later we met with a geneticist who determined that Gemma’s craniosynostosis was just that one condition and not symptomatic of a larger or more serious syndrome.

On Dec. 13, 2017, we were back in Iowa City for Gemma to get checked out for surgery and we met with pediatric neurosurgeon, Arnold Menezes, MD. Dr. Menezes explained that he would normally wait until infants are at least 13-14 pounds to perform surgery (Gemma weighed 10 pounds, 13.4 ounces that day) but after reviewing her CT scan he felt her trigonocephaly – which was causing her forehead to be triangular – was too severe to wait. He scheduled surgery for the following day.

Gemma’s surgery with Saul Wilson, MD, and Deborah Kacmarynski, MD, went beautifully and by the next day we were moved out of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) into a “regular” room. We were discharged on Dec. 18. At her three-month post-op checkup, Gemma’s pediatric ophthalmologist checked for alignment and optic nerve health and she was given the all-clear. She started gaining more weight than she had been, which was great.

I cannot say enough nice things about UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. The facility itself is downright gorgeous (there's a ZEN GARDEN, people), and the entire staff was never anything less than helpful. We were able to walk around/lounge/get food at our leisure while still being provided updates as fast as the surgeons and nurses were able to give them.

Our experience at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital was better than I could have imagined. Our entire team was helpful and patient and you could tell they really cared about my daughter. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is a top-notch hospital. I feel lucky that Iowa has such an excellent facility that we can trust to take the very best care of our children.

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