How One Encounter with a Pediatric Anesthesiologist Made All the Difference

Born with Down syndrome (trisomy 21), 5-year-old Evan Rothholz sees his fair share of doctors to manage a variety of medical conditions — and some of those interactions have made all the difference, both to Evan and his family.

Evan at Soccer GameFor Evan’s mom, Julie, the actions of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pediatric anesthesiologist David Lowe, MD, provided a breakthrough moment. It seemed simple: He walked in and turned to Evan, immediately involving him in the conversation as he explained what he’d be doing.

But to Julie, that small moment was a big deal.

“One thing always at the forefront when you have a child with Down syndrome is inclusion,” says Julie. “It’s all about having the child participate and assuming they’re capable of achieving something. And in his interactions with Evan, it was clear that Dr. Lowe assumed that Evan was competent and capable. Whether Evan understood or not didn’t matter — what mattered was that Dr. Lowe gave him the chance.”

Evan first day of kindergarden Evan on his first day of kindergarten. Beyond easing their fears and making a scary experience a positive one, Julie sees Dr. Lowe’s actions as an important stepping stone for Evan’s future. Including Evan in the conversation early on will help him understand and prepare him to become an active participant in his own care and decisions.

Julie shared her memories of that day in a recent post on The Mighty. Read about the experience in Julie’s words to learn why it meant so much.

Learn more about Evan’s journey.

Published September 2016