Kids Get Chemo Closer to Home

Ten-year old Wesley Morris loves to keep a step ahead of younger brother, Stuart. But he was slowed down two years ago by what his mom at first thought was an ear infection.

Instead, Lorinda Morris says, a blood test and found his white cell count was 240,000 when it should have been five-thousand. Wesley was diagnosed with cancer.

His chemotherapy put the family on the road to University of Kansas Hospital. Stormont-Vail nurse Nancy Pankratz, RN, says only adult chemotherapy was offered in Topeka.

Pankratz says that because children have different kinds of cancers, and they're treated with different medications at different amounts than adults.

As Wesley approached remission, his pediatrician approached Stormont with an idea. Why not train the nurses so the kids could stay close to home to get their chemo? Pankratz says the kids were going back and form to KU Med weekly for what amounted to a five-minute medication.

Pankratz says Stormont trained six nurses to do the job. Wesley was their first patient.

Staying close to home means kids can re-gain a sense of normal routine. They don't have to miss an entire day of school, and parents don't need to take an entire day off work.

Area kids still go to KU Med for chemotherapy until they're in remission. They'd then be referred to Stormont. Treatments there continue anywhere from 18 to 30 months.


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