Hospitals do not top the list of places people make reservations to visit. Most conversations, even with close family and friends, do not center on specific diseases or their treatments, especially if the disease is something that affects a child’s life, even though the disease may not necessarily be life threatening or severely debilitating.
For most parents, money would be no object to see that their child receives the best possible medical treatment for any disease that child suffers, but what if there were a place where children could receive world-class medical treatment by doctors who are recognized as experts in their specialties at little to no cost to families, a place where cutting-edge research into those diseases takes place?
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC), located in Dallas Texas, has been treating children with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions since 1921. That year, a group of Texas Masons asked Dr. W.B. Carrell to help establish a hospital to treat children with polio. The hospital was established to provide treatment to patients regardless of the family’s ability to pay for services. Over the years, TSRHC has expanded its services to include the treatment of almost all musculoskeletal diseases in pediatric patients. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the hospital serves as both a teaching hospital (many of the residents and interns are students from several medical schools in the region) and research facility. The hospital, and doctors practicing with it, holds over 20 patents for devices, treatments and procedures for assisting juvenile patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
In addition, the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders, which is housed at the hospital, provides assessment, diagnoses and treatment for dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The first functional definition of developmental dyslexia was first outlined at the hospital in 1968 when the World Federation of Neurology met at the hospital. The center provides parents and children with assistance in learning about these conditions and the options for coping with the challenges learning difficulties present.
The hospital is staffed with the necessary professional personnel to diagnose and treat the various conditions, but many of the support staff is volunteers from the community.
Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis
Affecting large and small joint groups juvenile arthritis, in its various forms, is, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells. This leads to the joint pain and inflammation that accompanies the disease. The Arthritis Foundation website states over 290,000 juveniles are affected by some form of arthritis.
Because juvenile arthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis in adults, the AAOS website states professionals have abandoned the term “juvenile rheumatoid arthritis”, although pediatric rheumatologist is still the term for doctors specializing in treating the disease in children and teens. The term is still widely used in popular literature and among non-medical individuals.
According to both the Arthritis Foundation and the AAOS, there are several large categories of juvenile arthritis. The technical terms for these categories are used to describe how the disease presents itself in the patient: systemic (at least one joint, but affecting other organs, including skin, liver and spleen), idiopathic (disease of unknown or undetermined origin), oligoarticular (also referred to as pauciarticular, affecting one or only a few joints) and polyarticular (affecting five or more joints, particularly small joints like the toes and fingers).
According to the Arthritis Foundation, juvenile psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of juvenile arthritis that presents in patients along with the skin disease psoriasis. When looking at the disease in light of the other terms, juvenile PsA is systemic, idiopathic and polyarticular.
Symptoms can include joint pain and swelling, fever and rash.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is little known about the exact causes of the disease in juveniles (medically defined as children and teens under 18), but that environment, diet, toxins and allergies are not known to cause the disease.
The AAOS recommends that a rheumatologist be consulted for an exact diagnosis.
According to the AAOS, treatments of all forms of the disease range from pain management with a variety of drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen; using drugs like methotrexate and corticosteroids to increase movement and exercise or physical therapy.
Juvenile arthritis is an often overlooked condition by the public, but each day doctors, hospitals and volunteers at facilities like Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children are working to help children live with the disease as normally as possible while looking for methods of treating the disease to the point of remission.