FoundationChildren's Miracle Network 2006 Miracle Child Named
Washoe Medical Center Announces Five-year-old Matthew Cummings as the 2006 Miracle Child
Reno, Nev. (July 5, 2006)— Washoe Medical Center Foundation announced today the selection of five-year-old Matthew Cummings as Washoe Med’s 2006 Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Child. Cummings was chosen by the local CMN selection committee for the courage he demonstrated during his diagnosis and treatment of an Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM).
The Miracle Child serves as a local ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network program. As the Miracle Child, Cummings will have the opportunity to attend Children’s Miracle Network special event functions and share his story with the community.
“Mathew is one tough little guy,” said Jan Johnson, Director of Washoe Medical Center Foundation. “Being selected as northern Nevada’s Miracle Child gives us the opportunity to honor Mathew’s bravery and strength during such a challenging healthcare experience.”
In 2005, Cummings was diagnosed with an AVM—a defect of the circulatory system in which arteries and veins are tangled and not connected by capillaries. It is generally believed to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth. The lack of capillaries that the AVM causes allows blood traveling through the abnormal vessels to flow rapidly and under high pressure. This prevents the nutrient rich blood in the arteries from reaching the tissues.
Although an AVM can develop in many different sites, those located in the brain or spinal cord can have especially widespread effects on the body- including the possibility of a stroke or death. The probability of an AVM occurring in a child under the age of sixteen is one in one hundred thousand. That means that less than 8 percent of all children develop an AVM.
Neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Song was the attending physician when Cummings presented at Washoe Med. Cummings underwent a series of diagnostic tests, including several CT scans and an MRI, to determine the size and intricacy of the AVM. Song decided that a craniotomy would be the most effective form of treatment for Cummings. A craniotomy is the surgical removal of a section of bone (bone flap) from the skull for the purpose of operating on the underlying tissues, usually the brain. The bone flap is replaced at the end of the procedure. Cumming’s craniotomy was successful. His recovery required a 30-day hospital stay, including two days in the region’s only pediatric intensive care unit at Washoe Med. His follow-up care included routine check-ups every three to six months for the following year.
“We did our homework and decided that we couldn’t be in better hands than with Dr. Song,” said Joe Cummings. “No surgeon could care more or be more invested in Matthew. It was so reassuring to know that we have access to such skilled physicians right here in our own community.”
Dr. Song specializes in neurosurgery with an emphasis on complex spine and cranial base surgery. Dr. Song has been practicing in northern Nevada since January 2004 and has his own practice, Sierra Neurosurgery Group.
Cummings is now back to being a normal five-year-old boy. He enjoys watching Power Rangers and playing with his brother Christopher, 10. He loves giving kisses and is preparing for kindergarten.
Children’s Miracle Network- the alliance of premier hospitals for children- is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals across North America. Each year the 170 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals provide the finest medical care, life-saving research and preventative education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind. For more information on the Children’s Miracle Network visit www.cmn.org.