Pediatric neurology can give answers to anxious parents - - The News for South Mississippi

Pediatric neurology can give answers to anxious parents

By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For most children, a pediatrician is the only doctor they will need to see on a regular basis. But kids with more serious, chronic health problems, might benefit from seeing a specialist.

Pediatric neurologists are trained in pediatrics and neurology, to give kids much needed care. One of only a handful of pediatric neurologists in the gulf south region is right here in South Mississippi.

Ouida Butler from Vancleave has been taking her son to Dr. Stephen Nelson in Ocean Springs for the past six months. Nine-month-old Josiah Butler was having seizures.

"He started having seizures at three-months-old," Ouida said. "We didn't know what it was. His lips would turn blue, he stopped breathing. It was scary." 

But those seizures rarely happen anymore, thanks to carefully prescribed medications that have given the Butler family a more normal life.

Dr. Nelson treats a wide variety of neurological problems in children from infancy well into their teens. He often travels from his office in Ocean Springs to Alabama and Florida to take care of patients.

"Kids who have seizures, headaches, neurological developmental problems, would come to a pediatric neurologist," Dr. Nelson said.

Those developmental problems might include "walking late, talking late, not using their hands properly."

Dr. Nelson said while it's always difficult to tell parents there's something wrong with their child, it makes a tremendous difference to get an early diagnosis.

"People say, 'Isn't it hard to be a pediatric neurologist and give people bad news?' But that's only in a minority of cases. Most kids, I can either make better, or I can explain things and help their parents understand the short and long term prognosis."

Unfortunately for little Josiah, his problems are more serious. A CT scan found a tumor on his brain, which will require surgery. His mom worries, but is confident he will be well taken care of.

"The outcome is going to be fine, it's just getting to it that's going to be tricky because it's deep in his brain."

While Josiah's prognosis is still uncertain, doctors are optimistic. In the meantime, Ouida said Josiah is handling his medications well, enabling them to have a better quality of life. Josiah will have an MRI within the next few weeks, to help doctors determine the best course of action for the tumor surgery.

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