Children in the United States are healthier today than children have ever been, anywhere, for all of human history. Throughout the past hundred years, we have eliminated, controlled or learned to treat many dreaded and fatal childhood diseases. We have vaccines for measles, mumps, polio, whooping cough, chicken pox and meningitis. We can do surgery for congenital heart disease, transplant livers and kidneys, and cure many childhood cancers.
These truly are the days of miracles and wonder in children’s hospitals. Yet, there are still many treatment efforts that do not lead to cures. Today, we can save children’s lives, but the survivors are left with complex, chronic conditions. Premature babies have chronic lung disease, visual impairment or cerebral palsy. Cancer survivors have heart disease or hormone deficiencies. Babies born with congenital anomalies or inborn errors of metabolism must take multiple medications for the rest of their lives.