Since he was in elementary school, 16-year-old Ari Anwar has had chronic abdominal issues, fatigue, dizziness, gastrointestinal pain and more. His mother, Dee Anwar, says he went through countless tests to find out what was wrong that required him to miss school and then have to struggle to catch up.
A specialized test finally revealed he had postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). That’s when Ari’s mom switched his care to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, and everything changed. Ari’s appointments were streamlined and physicians from different specialties worked together to create a specialized treatment plan to best suit him.
Ari’s first appointment was with Peter Gaskin, MBBS, DCH, FAAP, FACC, a pediatric cardiologist at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Mrs. Anwar was overwhelmed by Dr. Gaskin’s caring and gentle nature in such a scary situation for her and her son.
When Ari expressed issues with pains in his stomach, Dr. Gaskin walked down the hall to consult with Samra Blanchard, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist.
“We felt like we were finally getting things figured out and felt supported,” Mrs. Anwar said. “Finally someone listened to him and believed what he was saying. They were willing to try all sorts of things to help Ari feel better.”
Dr. Gaskin is no stranger to complicated cases.
“Ari’s complex diagnosis requires seamless care across specialties to treat his symptoms in the best and most comprehensive way possible,” he said. “We take pride in working as a team to provide the best possible cure for the patient.”
While POTS is a rare and complicated disease, Ari now has a caring and compassionate team helping him feel his best. He hopes to become a mathematician or computer programmer one day.
SUNJAY KAUSHAL, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Director of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and Co-Director of the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
GEOFFREY ROSENTHAL, MD, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics and Head of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Co-Director of the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
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