If your child has epilepsy, we know how frightening seizures can be for both your child and your family. At the Seizure & Epilepsy Program at Floating Hospital for Children, our care team excels in finding a cause for your child’s seizures and works to manage them through medication, surgery, lifestyle changes and other therapies.
We talked to John N. Gaitanis, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neurology, and Jesse Winer, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, about what parents should know about seeking care for their child at our Comprehensive Epilepsy Level 4 Center.
Q: What is pediatric epilepsy?
Dr. Gaitanis (pictured on left): Pediatric epilepsy refers to unprovoked, recurrent seizures in childhood. Seizures vary greatly in severity. For some patients, they are subtle events, such as brief staring spells. In others, they can be prolonged convulsive episodes. Pediatric epilepsy is very common, affecting almost 1 % of all children and affects not just the child, but the entire family as well as the community surrounding that child.
Q: What treatment options are there for children with epilepsy?
Dr. Winer (pictured below): There are many options for treating children with epilepsy, and deciding the right treatment may involve multiple specialists to determine what is right for the individual child. Some of these options involve surgical treatment to help better localize where in the brain seizures may be coming from which can then guide focused surgical treatment to treat or even cure epilepsy.
Q: How is Floating Hospital for Children’s approach to epilepsy care different from other children’s hospitals?
Dr. Gaitanis: Personalized care is the hallmark of the approach to managing pediatric epilepsy at Tufts Medical Center. Our child neurologists look beyond the seizures alone and make every effort to know our patients as individuals. We strive to understand what our patients (and their families) value, and we work hard to make sure that no child is every limited by their medical condition. Our neurologists are very accessible to families and we make it a priority to always be available whenever concerns arise.
Q: What’s being done at Floating Hospital to improve outcomes in pediatric patients with epilepsy?
Dr. Winer: By taking an individualistic approach to the children of whom we take care, we are able to create patient and family specific treatment plans. Our neurologists, neurosurgeon, radiologists, social workers, child life specialists and more are constantly working side by side to find the best, safest, and most effective way to improve the lives of children with epilepsy.
Q: How would you describe Dr. Winer?
Dr. Gaitanis: Dr. Winer is an outstanding physician and surgeon. He has an excellent bedside manner and explains things clearly and patiently to families. At the same time, however, he is extremely technically adept. He handles the most difficult surgical cases expertly—largely because of the many hours he spends preparing in advance for each case. If my child needed neurosurgery, I would bring them to Dr. Winer without hesitation.
Q: How would you describe Dr. Gaitanis?
Dr. Winer: John is a thoughtful, caring, and highly intelligent colleague. He is always available and approachable to discuss the care of our patients. Our skill sets are perfect compliments to each other, making the collaborative care of our patients a seamless endeavor.
To learn more about Floating Hospital’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, please call 617-636-8100.