Pediatrics | St. Louis Public Radio

Pediatrics

Regina Hartfield serves dinner for her children in their south St. Louis home. Hartfield said she's spent hours on the phone trying to get her children back on Medicaid.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri had the highest increase in the rate of uninsured children in the nation over the two-year period that ended in 2018, according to a study from Georgetown University. 

In 2018, 5.3% of Missouri children under age 6 were uninsured, up from 3.6% two years earlier. Nationwide, uninsured rates in that age group rose to more than 4%.

Not having health coverage could have severe consequences for young children, pediatricians said. Without health insurance, kids miss doctor’s appointments that can identify health problems and provide preventative care such as vaccinations.

Dr. Ken Haller joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Dr. Ken Haller regularly finds himself assuring parents that childhood vaccines are safe. He tries to do so with empathy, because along with having confidence in vaccinations, he also believes parents genuinely want what’s best for their kids.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the Saint Louis University associate professor of pediatrics joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann for a discussion about how he navigates vaccine worries.

In addition to talking with families, Haller makes a point of participating in vaccine trials to help advance research at SLU’s Vaccine Center, which is currently enrolling children and teens in a flu study.

Noah Drozda shows off a pair of biosensors that he wore around the clock for a study on motor deficits in children.
Catherine Hoyt | Washington University

Washington University researchers are testing a wearable biosensor that can detect potential motor impairments early, while kids are still young enough to respond to physical therapy.

An estimated 1 in 3,000 babies have a stroke around the time they’re born, but the signs can be so subtle that parents and doctors miss them.

Pediatrician Ken Haller tries to get 3-year-old Azaya Clemons to laugh during a checkup at Danis Pediatrics in Midtown.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

As a pediatric surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Dr. Bo Kennedy has seen firsthand how bullets can shatter tiny bodies.

He’s collected dozens of horror stories from his time in the hospital’s emergency department, including the time a 3-year-old boy stuck a loaded gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

“That’s what he did with his water pistol to get a drink out of it,” Kennedy said. “And obviously he didn’t survive.”

Because of their experience treating guns’ youngest victims, St. Louis pediatricians have increasingly considered it their responsibility to promote gun safety by talking to parents about how to keep guns away from children.

This sculpture outside St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis was built to honor the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, a collaboration between St. Jude and Washington University in St. Louis.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Almost one in every 10 children with cancer was born with an inherited genetic mutation predisposing them to develop the disease, according to a joint study by Washington University and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

The research suggests that genetic screening could provide an important tool for diagnosing cancers earlier and avoiding ineffective treatments.

Dr. Ken Haller talks about vaccination safety with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Rumors of a link between autism and the measles vaccine persist, although the original paper that claimed the link, as well as its author, have been discredited.

Pediatrician Weighs In On Vaccine Safety

Feb 10, 2015
Dr. Ken Haller talks about vaccination safety with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

The measles vaccine is safe and effective, pediatrician Ken Haller said; there’s no reason not to get it.

“This virus is very tenacious,” Haller told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “If someone with measles walks into a room and even just breathes, it can stay in the air for two hours. Anyone coming into that room who’s susceptible has a 90 percent chance of getting sick from it.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday announced its first major shift on circumcision in more than a decade, concluding that the health benefits of the procedure clearly outweigh any risks.

"There is clear evidence that supports the health benefits of circumcision," said Susan Blank, who led the 14-member task force that formulated the new policy being published in the journal Pediatrics.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 29, 2009 - Health-care reform has engendered a broad public debate around a variety of related issues. Except for one that has been largely ignored. The most vulnerable members of our society, our children, are under-served by the health-care industry and the health-care public safety net due to a limited availability of pediatric physicians to care for their primary and special needs.

Study evaluates hospital care for kids

Jun 6, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2008 - For the first time, medical researchers are taking a close look at preventable complications - some fatal - that occur at children's hospitals nationwide. In most cases, the complications do not lead to deaths, but to infections and other maladies.