Excellent pediatric primary care lights a spark in young boy

Excellent pediatric primary care lights a spark in young boy

Makade Kanicki and sister, Matea, enjoy a playful moment with the family's Goldendoodle.

It is not easy when your child is not feeling quite right. But how do you know if your little one’s symptoms are a sign of a bigger problem? The Kanicki family learned that a trusted, knowledgeable pediatrician and expert coordination of care can make all the difference.

In fall 2013, Jera Kanicki and her husband, Matt, noticed that their 6-year-old son, Makade, the youngest of their three children, was having occasional bouts of diarrhea. At first, the Ashtabula residents did not think much of it. The problem was not consistent and he did not complain of pain. But over the next few months, Makade’s diarrhea became more frequent.

“When Makade began waking up at night with diarrhea, we knew there was a problem,” says Jera.

Aggressive diagnosis

Jera brought Makade to Douglas Fleck, MD, a pediatrician with Ashtabula Pediatrics, a pediatric practice that brings the expertise of the UH Rainbow Care Network to the community.

“I knew right away that Makade’s problem could stem from several different causes – from food allergies or gluten intolerance to irritable bowel syndrome,” recalls Dr. Fleck. “I recommended immediate blood work to diagnose the problem.”

When the test results came back a few days later, Dr. Fleck determined that Makade’s problem stemmed from inflammation in his body. He suspected it was due to a form of irritable bowel syndrome, likely Crohn’s disease. However, the diagnosis could only be confirmed through endoscopic testing with a specialist.

Seamless collaboration

“Ashtabula is a rural community where health care options are limited,” explains Dr. Fleck. “But as a Rainbow practice, I have close relationships with network specialists. I called a pediatric gastroenterologist colleague and instead of waiting weeks or months for an appointment, Makade was seen the very next day.”

In addition to close coordination and collaboration, UH Rainbow Care Network pediatricians and specialists share electronic medical records. As a result, Makade’s pediatric gastroenterologist, Atiye Aktay, MD, could review his blood test results and growth and development records right away.

Dr. Aktay performed a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy on Makade. Ulcers in his esophagus and colon confirmed he had Crohn’s disease. Dr. Aktay immediately admitted him to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Makade began treatment in the hospital less than one week after his first pediatrician appointment with Dr. Fleck.

“Having a strong Rainbow presence in such a rural county is a game changer for many families,” says Dr. Fleck. “I am glad we are here.”

A new spark in life

Today, Makade’s disease is under control, thanks to medication therapy given to him by IV at the hospital every eight weeks.

“Having a strong Rainbow presence in such a rural county is a game changer for many families.” – Douglas Fleck, MD

“The hospital is 50 miles away from our home but we would travel thousands of miles to be there. It is an amazing place,” says Jera. Since beginning treatment, Makade’s parents describe him as a different child. Before diagnosis, Makade was reserved and often played alone. Now, he is socially interactive, plays basketball and is always on the go.

“My husband and I laugh and ask each other where he came from. He has got a personality to die for and is our entertainer,” Jera says.

She adds, “We are so grateful his condition was diagnosed so quickly and are privileged to have Dr. Fleck in charge of our children’s health. I could not be happier having this level of care right here in town.”

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Douglas Fleck

Pediatrician, Ashtabula Pediatrics Clinical
Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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