Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Medical Reports: Sudden Death
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is one of the greatest medical mysteries, and doctors still don't know what causes seemingly healthy babies to die in their sleep. One local family who lost their child to SIDS is working to help a doctor unlock what causes this sudden death. Seven's Lynn Martinez has our story.
WSVN -- Nick and Jinmi Huseman were childhood sweethearts who shared their very first kiss together. They couldn't imagine loving anyone more than they loved each other.
Jinmi Huseman: "We only tried one month for Rece. He came very easily to us."
Until they welcomed baby Rece into the world.
Nick Huseman: "When we were blessed with Rece, we felt like our lives were complete."
A healthy little boy with fiery red hair and piercing blue eyes.
Jinmi Huseman: "I told Nick, with Rece we have it all."
But five months after Rece was born tragedy would strike.
Jinmi Huseman: "It seemed like the perfect day. It was a Saturday, and we just spent the whole day as a family."
When it came time for Rece's nap, Jinmi was careful to place him on his back.
Jinmi Huseman: "So I put him down, and the last thing I said to him was, 'Mommy will be back. I love you.'"
When she returned Rece was not breathing.
Jinmi Huseman: "I didn't see his belly going up and down, so I put my hand on his belly, and it wasn't moving."
Nick Huseman: "And she screamed out, 'Nick, Rece is dead.'"
An autopsy confirmed Rece died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.
SIDS is the unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby during sleep. The only advice doctors offer parents is to make babies sleep on their backs, keep bumper pads, toys, blankets out of the crib and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. All things Jinmi did.
Jinmi Huseman: "You feel so angry that you did everything you were supposed to do, yet despite that, your child was taken."
Lynn Martinez: "Desperate to prevent others from losing a child, Jinmi got on the Internet and found a doctor in Seattle who has come up with a breakthrough theory on the cause of SIDS."
Dr. Daniel Rubens: "I propose, and I have yet to prove this, that there's an injury at birth, which causes an insult that affects a number of regions in the body that includes the inner ear."
Dr. Rubens believes, during delivery, contractions cause a surge of blood from the placenta and that surge of blood creates high pressure that could damage tiny hairs inside the infant's inner ear. Those hairs may be responsible for transmitting information to the area of the brain that regulates breathing, so when those hairs are damaged, it disrupts breathing, predisposing infants to SIDS.
Dr. Daniel Rubens: "What it will do is enable us to focus on that infant and get more information about the hearing and what that means."
Dr. Rubens' theory is based on a study of 31 babies who died from SIDS and all scored low in newborn hearing tests in the right ear. The left ear did not seem to be affected as much. It's raised the possibility that a simple hearing test could be used to screen for SIDS risk.
Dr. Daniel Rubens: "So far I am excited about it. I feel like I am moving in the right direction."
Jinmi and Nick recently raised more than $35,000 to fund Dr. Rubens' research. Their hope is to prevent other parents from losing a precious baby like Rece to a sudden death.
Jinmi Huseman: "It is a living torture because you know that love. You can't un-know it. You can't live without it."
Lynn Martinez: "Dr. Rubens has just completed an animal study, and thanks to the Huseman family's fundraising, he hopes to begin another study involving babies in California."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
People can write checks to "University of Washington Foundation" with "In honor of Rece" in the memo. Checks can be mailed to:
UW Medicine Development
c/o Jodie Miner
815 Mercer Street, C-5
Seattle, WA 91895
Public Relations Specialist
Seattle Children's Hospital | Research | Foundation