Kale Schmidt Portrait

In Their Words

Erica Schmidt
Goose Lake, Iowa

“On June 18, 2015, we were told by a local doctor that it would be best to take our son Kale to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ Emergency Room, where doctors would point us in the right direction of care. In the days leading up to our trip to Iowa City, Kale had been passing blood in his urine. As a result, our local doctors scheduled an ultrasound of his kidneys on June 17.

The following day, I got the phone call that the doctors saw tumors in Kale's left kidney and that they wanted more blood work done and a CT scan with contrast. We did the blood work first and then drove to get the CT. Soon the radiologist pulled us into a room and told us that he was unable to administer the contrast, given Kale's current kidney function, and that we should head to the emergency room.

In Iowa City, we experienced a whirlwind of doctors and testing. On the evening of June 18, Kale was admitted to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Kale was in acute renal failure, along with the tumors that were present. The next day, after more testing, the doctors determined that Kale had bilateral Wilms Tumor. He started dialysis right away.

On June 22, Kale had surgery for his port and permanent dialysis catheter. Once out of surgery, he received his first dose of chemotherapy. Kale has had many, many ups and downs during our stay at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, but he is a fighter and is overcoming it all. Later in the summer, Kale was able to have his catheter removed, and we learned that he had restored kidney function. On August 20, we were discharged and able to go home.

Unfortunately, our time at home didn't last long. Kale was brought back to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital by ambulance on Sunday, August 22. On September 12, he began to show new signs and symptoms, and was re-admitted to the PICU for closer observation. After two nights in the PICU, he was able to go back to 3JCE, "his second home." On September 18, Kale was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma and has been undergoing treatment ever since. The entire staff here at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital has been absolutely amazing. We have worked with too many people to type up a list, but the staff in the PICU, on 3JCE, and all of the doctors, techs, and assistants that we have encountered have been wonderful!

Our experience at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital has been amazing. The staff is very welcoming and comforting when you need them. They are always willing to sit down and talk to you about any questions or concerns. If they don't know the answer to a question, they will be sure to find the person who does. There are also so many activities and opportunities for Kale that have helped keep him busy.

Child Life has been a lifesaver for Kale. They are always there with an activity to keep Kale busy, coming up with ways to help get him to do things that he doesn't care to do, to help distract him during a procedure, or just sit with him for a minute so we can get out and take a quick break. Having a teacher on staff at the hospital is absolutely wonderful. As a teacher myself, it is nice to see that students’ education doesn't stop because they are in the hospital.

This is the place to be. The level of care that Kale has received is absolutely amazing. If you have any type of question, the care team will find the answer. There are always activities to help pass the time for children here, and you can tell that all of the staff love their jobs here at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.”

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