One day in the fall of 2008 our two-and-a-half-year-old son, Nicholas, became extremely pale and developed a high fever. Realizing this was no ordinary cold or flu, we rushed him to The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department.
The doctors gave him a blood test that showed a dangerously high
white blood cell count and low hemoglobin, so they transferred Nicholas
right away to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. There he received a
blood transfusion and continuous monitoring.
Two days later—after several more blood tests and a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy—Nicholas was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a common form of leukemia in young children.
Nicholas began his first round of chemotherapy just twenty-four hours later. Following that were weekly, then daily, visits for intravenous chemotherapy. He also had to go through spinal taps, intravenous hydration and transfusions.
All of this would have been unbearable were it not for The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Dr. Swayam Sadanandan, as well as her staff and a gifted Child-Life Specialist trained to help young children manage the fear, pain and discomfort that can arise during medical care.
Every one of these caregivers treated our family with compassion, patience and respect.
That’s why we chose to keep Nicholas at TBHC throughout his entire course of treatment. A thorough review of our options confirmed what we had already suspected: Nicholas was already receiving the highest standard of care available anywhere in New York, including Manhattan. More than that, we felt the care he received has been more personalized and compassionate than anything we would receive at another facility.
Despite some setbacks along the way—including a rare allergic response to chemotherapy that made Nicholas unable to walk stand up or walk on his own for several months—Nicholas’ leukemia is now in remission and his walking has vastly improved. We are so grateful to Dr. Sadanandan, all of her colleagues in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, and the hospital’s pediatric physical therapists. Thanks to all of these individuals, Nicholas is getting better every day, mentally and physically.Return to Success Stories