In this patient story, Chloe and her mom, Carrie, surgeon Purnendu Gupta, M.D., and Nicole Viverito, PT, D.P.T., discuss Chloe's spinal condition, why they came to Shriners Children's, the treatments Chloe received including spine fusion, and how she's doing now.
Introduction: Recognized as one of the world's greatest philanthropies, Shriners Hospitals for Children is an international hospital system recognized for transforming the lives of children throughout expert care and research. And now another episode of the Shriner's Hospital for Children Chicago Podcast Series: Pediatric Specialty Care Spotlight with Melanie Cole.
Melanie Cole: Welcome. This is Pediatric Specialty Care Spotlight from Shriners Hospitals for children in Chicago. I'm Melanie Cole and today in our patient's story we have Chloe Berkich and her mother, Carrie to tell us about her experience at Shriner's Hospital. Chloe, tell us a little bit about your story. How old are you and tell us what happened and how you came to Shriner's Hospital in Chicago?
Chloe Berkich: I'm 15 and I came because my doctor actually recommended for us to come after I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11.
Host: Wow. And what was life like for you? I understand you're an artist and a dancer. How did it affect your quality of life? How did you guys start to notice this?
Chloe Berkich: Well it was actually at my sixth grade physical when a doctor just asked me to bend over. And that was the first time we actually like noticed that my shoulders were like uneven and, yeah.
Host: Were you not having pain when you danced or did any of those things up until then?
Chloe Berkich: Nope, not really.
Host: Wow. That's really interesting. So Carrie, Shriner's Hospital, tell us what you were thinking when she got diagnosed with scoliosis and your doctor recommended Shriner's Hospital. What did you think of it?
Carrie Berkich: So, we actually were not aware of Shriner's at the time when we first learned that Chloe had scoliosis, we were asked to go to the doctor and the doctor recommended our pediatrician did. And when we went, the experience was excellent. I mean, the doctors informed us of all of the information, gave us, what this means, what this could mean. They were very, very helpful in giving us the information on what it could mean, like as she grew and such.
Host: Chloe, what treatments did you receive? What did they do for you at Shriner's?
Chloe Berkich: I did physical therapy for awhile and then, I just had surgery and that was it.
Host: How do you feel now?
Chloe Berkich: Pretty good.
Host: What was it like? I mean, what was recovery like? What was the actual procedure like and right after the procedure, tell us about it.
Chloe Berkich: Well, I found out February 1st of 2019 that I was going to need surgery because prior to that I started having this really bad cough and also back pain. And then once we figured that out, we met with Dr. Gupta a few months later and then we decided to do the surgery in July so that way I could finish school and not have to worry about missing much. After the procedure, the doctors were really good about giving me pain meds and that seemed to help for awhile. Overall they did pretty well, like managing my pain.
Host: And Carrie, what was something that stood out the most for you about the treatment that Chloe received at Shriner's?
Carrie Berkich: You know when we arrived, it's the experience. It's not like being in a hospital, it's like you're part of a family. You know, they took just as good of care of me being there to make sure that I'm there to help her and support her through the process, as well as her. I mean the care was amazing throughout the entire stay, not only the week that we were there, six days, but even pre-op, like everything was taking care of all of the information they had done, all of the pre-work, etc. And really made it from a patient experience perspective, really effortless and painless.
Host: That's fantastic to hear. In Chloe, if you could talk to the staff and your doctors, the staff that took care of you, the nurses, the physical therapists, what would you tell them?
Chloe Berkich: Well, at first off, start by saying thank you for everything all of them have done. They've all been very, very supportive and nice and answered any questions I had. I felt very like, very peaceful going into this and I knew I'd be okay and they made sure that. They made sure everything went smoothly. I'm doing very well and I'm very hopeful that I'll be able to go back to dance soon.
Host: Well that's really lovely. And Carrie, if you were to share with other families who are facing a scoliosis or spine diagnosis, what would you tell them about your carrots? Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago, if they're considering going there for their care.
Carrie Berkich: I actually do this pretty routinely. I seem to run into a lot of people that are looking at different options for their child that has scoliosis or has been recently diagnosed. And what I tell them that Shriner's is the best there is no other that you should go to. You should consider going to trainers, go to see Dr. Gupta. Just the level of care, the fact that they really treat you as a family member, they really help make sure there's no financial burden to any family. It's just an overall amazing experience.
Host: Thank you both for coming on and sharing your story, Chloe, and good luck to you going forward. And Carrie, thank you again for joining us. And that concludes this episode of Pediatric Specialty Care Spotlight was Shriner's Hospitals for children in Chicago. For more information on evaluation and treatment for spine curves including scoliosis, or to make an appointment, please call 773-385-kids. Or you can visit our website at Shrinerschicago.org for more information and to get connected with one of our providers. Please remember to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast and all the other Shriners Hospitals for Children's Chicago podcasts. Share it with other parents, you know, that might be going through the same thing. Thanks for listening. I'm Melanie Cole.
About the Speakers
Chloe, spine patient
Carrie, Chloe's mother
Carrie, a benefits coordinator who lives in suburban Chicago, is passionate about the care and wonderful treatment her daughter has experienced at Shriners Children's.
Purnendu Gupta, M.D.
Nicole Viverito, PT, D.P.T.
Nicole Viverito has worked at Shriners Children’s Chicago since 2013. She provides physical therapy treatment to the pediatric population with a variety of orthopedic, neurological, and genetic conditions on an inpatient and outpatient basis. She earned the beginner and advanced levels for the BSPTS 3-D Treatment of Scoliosis based on principles from C.L. Schroth; and co-developed and implemented the outpatient program at Shriners Children's Chicago.
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