Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Healthwatch Fall 2008
Making Strides in Treating Cystic Fibrosis
Medical Breakthroughs Help Patients Live Longer, Healthier Lives
Fifty years ago, patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) seldom lived into their teens. Today, as medical researchers unravel the mysteries of the disease, more patients are experiencing such rites of passage as high school prom, college graduation and even midlife career change.
Much of the credit can be attributed to CF centers, where multidisciplinary teams provide comprehensive, advanced treatment.
"We are working with the state of Florida on a newborn CF screening program, and in the near future, we will participate in new research," says Morton N. Schwartzman, MD, Medical Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and a pediatric pulmonary specialist on the medical staffs of Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Miramar.
One of only a few nationally accredited cystic fibrosis centers in Florida, the Center's many success stories include that of 12-year-old Michael, who was diagnosed when he was 3. Today, Michael plays baseball in his local city league, and, with the exception of his daily medication routine, his life is no different from his peers'.
Proactive Disease Management
Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, hereditary disease that causes sweat and mucus glands to malfunction, leading to complications that can seriously damage the patient's lungs, pancreas and other organs.
Michael's father, Dale, credits his son's good health to the Center's proactive disease management.
"They do preventive maintenance to keep him healthy, and they'll step up the medicine if he starts to get sick," Dale says.
"Our overall thematic approach is to maximize the utility of available CF drugs that have proven to be effective over the years, and employ them early and in an aggressive fashion," says Juan C. Martinez, MD, Medical Director of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, and pediatric pulmonary specialist on the medical staffs of Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Miramar. "We take an individualized approach to each of our patients, since the disease manifestations can vary from mild to the more classic severe forms."
With the Center's extensive disease education, patients' families become part of the extended care team.
Dale says, "The educational materials and my talks with the staff have set my mind at ease."
For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, call (954) 986-6333.
To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.