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news News Monday, March 11, 2019 Thursday, March 7, 2019 2:13 PM - Thursday, March 7, 2019 2:13 PM

Photo contest winner: “Dr. Gupta and Caleb – Friends on the Floor"

Chicago Shriners Hospital staff recognized in national hospital photography contest

Photo contest winner: “Dr. Gupta and Caleb – Friends on the Floor"

Cathleen Himes has worked in marketing and communications at the Chicago Shriners Hospital for more than 10 years. She serves as one of the hospital’s photographers, and believes compelling photos tell great stories. One of Himes' photos is part of a new exhibition sponsored by the Children's Hospital Association.The image, entitled Dr. Gupta and Caleb – Friends on the Floor, is one of 50 winning photographs in the biennial Children's Hospitals Photo Exhibit. The selected photographs were curated by a panel of distinguished judges including renowned photographer and author Anne Geddes.

“When Dr. Gupta sat on the floor next to Caleb, it was such a beautiful moment of the two of them connecting. I’m glad Caleb will be able to look back at this photo one day and be reminded of how caring and present his surgeon was throughout his medical journey at Shriners Hospitals,” Himes said.

Himes’ photo from the Chicago Shriners Hospital joins winning photos from the Lexington Shriners Medical Center, and the Northern California and Tampa Shriners Hospitals for Children in the exhibition.

The story behind the photo

When young Caleb arrived at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago in 2015, he had a spinal curve of 120 degrees. Diagnosed with kyphosis, a condition in which the spine curves and protrudes outward, Caleb’s family turned to Shriners Hospitals for Children to help their son, who they had recently adopted from China. In addition to his spine condition, Caleb was born with other conditions in his lower extremities, including clubfoot and hip dysplasia. Caleb is also deaf and is working to learn sign language, and his family is learning alongside him.

Caleb’s parents were eager to get the medical help he needed and turned to the Chicago Shriners Hospital for help. Purnendu Gupta, M.D., chief of staff and a pediatric spine surgeon, met with the hospital’s spine team to determine the safest and most effective treatment plan for the severe curve. They determined that surgery with two spine surgeons – Dr. Gupta and Kim Hammerberg, M.D., chief of spine surgery – would produce the best outcome.

The spine team had a 3D printed model of Caleb’s spine prepared to better study the intricacies of his condition and plan the surgery. Dr. Gupta said that working with 3D models allows the surgeons to see the malformations of the spine from various angles. The model also turned out to be useful to help Caleb feel more comfortable about the surgery.

On the evening before his surgery, Caleb had his IV placed in his hand and was feeling uncomfortable and nervous. Dr. Gupta stopped by the inpatient unit to check on Caleb and show him the 3D model of his spine. After seeing Caleb was uneasy, the physician sat on the floor to talk to him. Caleb instantly showed interest in the spine and was much more comfortable interacting with Dr. Gupta on the floor.

Caleb’s spine surgery the next day was more than 10 hours long and the results were very positive; his spinal curve was significantly reduced and he gained several inches in height. Caleb will continue to see the orthopaedic team at the Chicago Shriners Hospital for care of his lower extremities.

“At the Chicago Shriners Hospital, we have a team of specialists including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, care coordinators, child life specialists, recreational therapists and more who work with our patients every step of their medical journey. This team approach allows for great outcomes and recovery with the children we treat," Dr. Gupta said.

View the entire photo exhibit online at the Childrens Hospitals Today website.