Pediatrix Clinicians in the News

April 2, 2024 | by Jennifer Gutierrez
Pediatrix Clinicians in the News

In addition to the highly specialized care our clinicians provide to patients across the country every day, many also serve as go-to expert sources for top national and regional media outlets. Pediatrix® clinicians regularly contribute to news articles, sharing their expertise to help educate readers on a wide variety of popular topics related to women’s and children’s health, as well as unique stories of innovative patient care.

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest stories:

Jennifer Johnson, D.O., pediatric cardiologist, spoke to KSAT-TV, the San Antonio, Texas, ABC affiliate, about the care of Eleanor Young, who was born with a rare congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries, requiring life-saving intervention immediately after birth followed by open heart surgery at eight days old. Eleanor celebrated her six-month “heart anniversary” in February, and the family raised awareness for American Heart Month. “Congenital heart disease is actually 1% to 2% of all pregnancies,” said Dr. Johnson. “Most of these kids have oxygen saturation that are on the lower end of normal,” she explained. “And that’s how they’re picked up because of the newborn screening that throughout the state of Texas, every child who’s born has to do prior to going home from the newborn nursery.”

Sarah Jordan, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN), spoke to Care about phantom kicks. “Occurring days, months or even years after pregnancy, phantom kicks are the continued perception of fetal movement,” said Dr. Jordan. There are several theories as to what causes phantom kicks. “One theory is that, as the uterus grows during pregnancy, nerve receptors grow as well, leading to the sensation of phantom kicks after delivery,” she explained. “It also may be a part of the normal postpartum recovery process, as the body remodels muscle and connective tissue after delivery.”

Jenelle Ferry, M.D., neonatologist, spoke to People about the practice of elimination communication as an alternative to diapering. "Elimination communication essentially relies on reflexes to release bowel or bladder function when naked," said Dr. Ferry. "This is different than potty training, where a child can recognize the signals of needing to use the bathroom and chooses the appropriate time to coordinate sphincter release," she said. When considering elimination communication, Dr. Ferry noted that parents should have reasonable expectations. "It’s important to realize that elimination communication for infants does not result in bowel and bladder control during infancy."

Amy Wetter, M.D., OBGYN, spoke to The Girlfriend from AARP about vaginal health tips, including proper washing. “The vagina is a muscular canal that connects the cervix and the uterus while the vulva is the external part of your genital organs that includes the labia, mons pubis, clitoris, urethral opening and some glands,” said Dr. Wetter. “The vagina is a self-cleaning area that contains normal and physiologic bacteria and discharge that do [the cleaning] for you,” she said. While the vulva can be cleaned with a combination of mild soap and warm water, Dr. Wetter cautioned that scented products can alter pH levels and cause other issues like bacterial vaginosis.

James Davis, M.D., pediatric surgeon, spoke to SheKnows about appendicitis in children. “Appendicitis is inflammation and bacterial overgrowth or blockage of the appendix,” said Dr. Davis, noting that it’s most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15. It can be diagnosed by performing the “jump test,” whereby a child jumps with both hands in the air, reaching toward the ceiling. “It is among the most straightforward, user-friendly tests one can perform,” he said. “If this elicits significant abdominal pain, studies suggest there is up to a 70 percent chance that the child has appendicitis.”

Suzanne Bovone, M.D., OBGYN, spoke to Self about recurrent bacterial vaginosis, which can often present as bacterial sexually transmitted infections. To avoid a misdiagnosis, Dr. Bovone recommended that providers test for all STIs, especially those with bacteria and parasites as vectors, or which come with symptoms of vaginal itching and discharge with an off odor (like gonorrhea and chlamydia). “We see it all and can reassure you what is normal. And if anything is off, we can help,” said Dr. Bovone.

Tracy Butler, M.D., pediatrician and practice medical director, spoke to Yahoo! Life about how to keep kids safe in extreme winter weather. “If (it’s) below -15 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a good day to play inside. The risk of hypothermia and frostbite is in minutes of exposure,” said Dr. Butler. “Proper clothing and time limits can help avoid this complication,” she said. It’s also critical that the sleep environment is safe. Dr. Butler noted that for babies, it’s safest to keep blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding out. “While they are warm, they are associated with suffocation deaths. It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets.”

Jill Purdie, M.D., OBGYN and practice medical director, spoke to Women’s Health about light menstrual periods. According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), a light period is when there is less than 5 milliliters of blood loss, said Dr. Purdie. “This is approximately one tablespoon or one saturated regular tampon or pad,” she explained. “People may also refer to their period as ‘light’ if it lasts for only a short amount of time, or roughly one to two days.” Dr. Purdie noted that if the period is light, the blood may also be darker. “The less blood flow present, the longer it takes the blood to go from the uterus to the outside. The longer it takes the blood to flow out, the darker the blood becomes,” she said.

Amber Samuel, M.D., maternal-fetal medicine specialist, practice medical director and specialty medical officer, spoke to Parents about a recent study in the U.K. that found that pregnant people who used e-cigarettes had babies born with the same birth weight as those who did not smoke. Dr. Samuel shared that not only is there limited long-term data on vaping and e-cigarettes in pregnancy, there are still some risks to the parent and the fetus because of the exposure to heavy metals and other cancer-causing agents. "There’s also increased risk of long-term pulmonary or lung disease, worsening asthma, cancer, and increased susceptibility to pulmonary infections," she said. "Additionally, the fetus thrives on oxygen transport from [parent to them], so exposures that decrease this transport will necessarily increase risks for fetuses."

Katelyn Snyder, M.D., pediatric cardiologist, spoke to WFOR-TV, the Miami, Florida, CBS affiliate, about the care of twins Asher and Xander Reyes who recently celebrated their first birthday, a significant milestone in their battle with a rare congenital heart defect called congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (CCTGA). While CCTGA itself is rare, what made this case even rarer is that both twins have the condition but different versions of it, requiring different treatment. “We hope that they’ll have a good life and that they can run and play and do everything that they want to do,” said Dr. Snyder. “They’re never going to get rid of me or a cardiologist, and they’ll probably need repeat surgeries.”

Suzy Lipinski, M.D., OBGYN, spoke to Livestrong about hysterectomy recovery. "If there are abdominal incisions from an abdominal, robotic or laparoscopic hysterectomy, then those incisions will be sore and your abdominal muscles will be very tender," said Dr. Lipinski. "It may feel like you did 500 sit-ups during surgery." She shared that discomfort with urination is also common. "Your doctor will likely check to make sure that you are emptying your bladder adequately."

Ellen Smead, CNM, certified nurse-midwife, spoke to Parents about weight gain during pregnancy. She shared that the uterus increases substantially in size as the baby grows, and a whole new organ is created to sustain baby—the placenta, which helps feed needed nutrients to baby. “These new organs are created specifically for pregnancy, and therefore create a higher demand from the body,” described Smead. While there are weight gain guidelines to follow, she noted that it's best to focus on healthy eating. “In general, I don’t recommend hyper-focusing on weight gain during pregnancy,” said Smead. “Every pregnant person’s body is a little different and some will gain more than others with similar diets.”

Fae Dopwell, M.D., developmental-behavioral pediatrician, spoke to Forbes Vetted about developmentally appropriate toys for young boys. “Finding toys that speak to his interests while fostering his cognitive, motor and social-emotional development is important,” said Dr. Dopwell. She touched on how cooperative family games can help kids learn a variety of social-emotional skills. “They are not only learning to share, but how to work as part of a team and appropriately engage with others in a turn-taking manner,” said Dr. Dopwell.

Kyle Graham, M.D., OBGYN, spoke to The Bump about the Ramzi Theory, which claims that you can determine baby’s sex early on in pregnancy simply by looking at the location of the placenta on an ultrasound. “There’s a 50 percent chance with simple guessing that the sex is male or female,” said Dr. Graham. “I’d venture to say the Ramzi theory is about that accurate.” Dr. Graham discussed non-invasive prenatal testing and chorionic villus sampling, which are far more accurate ways to predict gender.

Chandrika Rao, M.D., OBGYN, spoke to Healthline about endometriosis. The condition, commonly referred to as “the missed disease,” can often lead to feeling swollen. “Whole body swelling is not a common symptom, but feeling swollen is a common complaint,” said Dr. Rao. While endometriosis can be asymptomatic, it can affect fertility. Many times, people learn they have the condition when being evaluated for issues conceiving. “Endometriosis can be a debilitating disorder, but oftentimes it is an incidental finding. Not everyone who has endometriosis has severe symptoms,” she said.

To view additional stories, visit the Pediatrix newsroom.

 Members of the media, we invite you to view our multispecialty media panel and request an expert source via