For young patients who grow to adulthood with a chronic illness, leaving behind the pediatrician who may have saved their lives can be a tough transition.
More than half a million children with special health-care needs will turn 18 this year, the first generation to reach adulthood since sweeping medical advances ensured an unprecedented number would survive congenital conditions that until recently would have killed them. The influx is straining an already burdened health-care system, and patients and their physicians are feeling the added stress, according to a study by researchers at the University of Floridas Institute for Child Health Policy appearing in the current issue of Pediatrics.
“We are looking at the very beginning of that wave, because this is the first generation to turn 18 since the technology and treatments have allowed them to survive to adulthood,” said lead researcher John Reiss, Ph.D., policy and program affairs chief at UFs Institute for Child Health Policy. “That number will grow, and this will put phenomenal pressure on adult medicine.”
Denise Trunk | EurekAlert!
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