Childhood is a time of exploring, climbing, jumping and living carefree. When things don’t go quite right, the Ehrhart family of New Middletown is thankful there’s Akron Children’s ER.
“We’ve been to the Akron Children’s ER about once a month for the past 18 months for one thing or another,” said Joni Ehrhart, mom of Aiden, Jordyn and Avery. “Over the years, I think my 3 kids have been to the ER for about a half dozen broken bones or fractures, asthma attacks, RSV, influenza…I think you’d call us frequent flyers of the ER. I’m just thankful we don’t have to travel far for help.”
One recent visit to the ER for back pain turned into an unexpected diagnosis for 5-year-old Avery.
After a fun, action-packed day at an indoor trampoline park, Avery told her parents her back hurt. She woke up the next day a little sore but, by the time her mom picked her from school that day, Avery could barely get in the car.
After an X-ray and evaluation, staff determined that Avery not only had an acute fracture in her back, but also a congenital defect of her lumbar spine called spondylolysis.
Spondylolysis, also known as a pars defect, happens when a crack forms in the bony ring on the back of the spinal column. It can occur as a result of excessive or repeated stress in the area or people are born with the defect and develop symptoms later in life when the area is injured.
Avery had a follow-up visit with Lorena Floccari, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Akron Children’s Hospital Spine Center, who prescribed a back brace for Avery and full activity restrictions for 3 months.
“Avery’s condition is common in young athletes,” said Dr. Flocarri. “Many patients can improve with physical therapy but others, with an acute injury like Avery’s, are treated with a brace. We’ll continue to monitor Avery, but I anticipate she will make a full recovery with no future limitations or complications from this injury.”
Avery’s next visit with Akron Children’s is scheduled for November, but the ER is always ready for an unexpected visit.
“Having Akron Children’s ER so close provides a level of comfort that I can’t explain with words,” said Joni. “Everything and everyone there is geared towards kids – from the care they provide to the extras they give like stickers and stuffed animals. The quality of care we get is unmatched.”
For a busy family, who uses the ER and other specialists to care for their 3 kids, having everyone’s medical data in one place also provides peace of mind.
“Having all of my kids’ records in one place makes my life easier because I don’t have to worry I’m missing something,” added Joni. “My kids’ pediatrician, Dr. Lickliter, is aware of every visit we have at the hospital and knows the outcome without me even having to mention it… I appreciate that someone else is keeping track of my kids’ health, too.”