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Provider and family team manage Josie's arthritis

Posted on Oct. 3, 2017 ( comments)
Dr. Boon takes a look at Josie's iritis during a checkup.

Josie Barrett was 3 when she first complained to her mother Mandy about a persistent pain in her knee.

“One night in bed she said, ‘Mommy, my knee really hurts,’” says Mandy, of Gig Harbor.

On closer examination, Mandy noticed a swelling in Josie’s knee and knew that it was time to seek help. At the recommendation of a family member, she went to Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center.

Mandy took Josie to see Sheryl Boon, MD, Mary Bridge’s board-certified pediatric rheumatologist, who diagnoses and treats childhood inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, blood vessel inflammation and Kawasaki Disease. Dr. Boon determined that Josie had juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

JIA occurs when the immune system attacks the body by mistake, causing inflammation and pain to joints and other parts of the body. It is one of the most common types of arthritis in the nearly 300,000 children in the United States who suffer from arthritis.

Once treated, Josie’s symptoms subsided. Today Mandy said that JIA has few impacts on the 5-year-old preschooler’s day-to-day life.

“Sometimes she is a little stiff and achy in the mornings, but for the most part she doesn’t even know she has it,” Mandy says.

Unfortunately, the Barretts and Dr. Boon now face a new challenge as Josie deals with another immune-related condition: iritis. Iritis is inflammation that affects the colored ring around the pupil of the eye and can lead to glaucoma or vision loss if untreated.

Working as a team, Dr. Boon and Mandy are optimistic about managing Josie’s iritis moving forward.

“It’s been great working with Mary Bridge — there are a lot of support groups and other families you can network with,” Mandy says. “They make Josie feel really comfortable when she is there, which is important.”

The clinic’s most common treatments are for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, hypermobility, Systemic Lupus Erythematous, Raynaud's Phenomenon and Uveitis.

Dr. Boon says her approach as a provider is to be collaborative and family-centered, focusing on a team-based approach to provide young patients with comprehensive, evidence-based care. She also has professional interests in pulmonary issues in patients with autoimmune diseases, lupus, and nutritional issues.

“I enjoy rheumatology because it offers the challenge of complex diagnosis, along with the satisfaction of seeing the benefit of treatment due to the many therapies available, and the opportunity to follow patients long-term,” says Dr. Boon.

Learn more about Mary Bridge Pediatric Rheumatology 

Posted in: Kids' Health | Stories

About The Author

Mark Swart

Mark Swart joined MultiCare Health System after retiring from Army Public Affairs at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wa. He has extensive storytelling and communications experience from operations around the globe. Mark enjoys being active outdoors, whether it is running, sailing, motorcycling or even working in his yard.

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