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Friday, June 12, 2009
In what’s become an annual tradition, residents, fellows and staff from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) made a special visit to the gold-domed building down the street to advocate for legislation affecting children's health. The group was participating in "Residents' and Fellows' Day at the State House," sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This year's MGHfC representatives were organized by residents Alenka Zeman, MD, and Catherine Aftandilian, MD.
The event drew approximately 80 pediatric staff members from several area hospitals. MGHfC trauma surgeon Peter Masiakos, MD, joined the MGHfC residents and fellows in support of bill S.366 -- An Act to Regulate the Use of Off-highway and Recreation Vehicles. Masiakos is all too familiar with the dangers that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) present to children. In 2006, he and the MGHfCtrauma team cared for 8-year-old Sean Kearney, who sustained fatal injuries in an ATV accident.
The Kearneys shared their son's story at the State House, explaining that a play date ended with Sean being flown to MGHfC.
"We had four children, but we put three to bed every night," said Sean's mother, Katie. "We couldn’t prevent the accident from happening to Sean, but we can prevent it from happening to another family."
The Kearneys expressed their gratitude for Masiakos, who had helped support them through the five days their son was in the hospital. Masiakos is one of the ATV bill's strongest proponents.
"Passing this law will protect children from the risks that ATVs pose," Masiakos says.
Of their trip to the State House, Zeman says, "We received a great response from many senators and representatives who didn't know much about the bills before the meetings, but were very positive afterward about supporting them. It is very rejuvenating for us to step outside the hospital walls and have our voices be heard."
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