LHSON Student Publishes First Children's Book on the Birth Defect Hypospadias

December 15, 2017
Deb and her son
Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) congratulates recent nursing school graduate Deb Smith on her recently published book, “How Down There Bear Got Repaired” and in collaboration with the Frisco-based nonprofit, Operation Happenis™. Inspired by a true-life experience with her son Maddox who suffered from hypospadias, Smith brings awareness to this common but rarely discussed birth defect.

“We congratulate Deb on her accomplishment in publishing this very special children’s book,” said Dean Shelley F. Conroy, EdD, MS, RN, CNE, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. “Deb exemplifies our school motto, Learn.Lead.Serve.® in her efforts to make a positive difference in the world as an author, advocate for hypospadias and future Baylor nurse.”

“When I don’t know how to explain something to my son, I jump on the Amazon app and find a children’s book,” said Deb Smith. “One swipe later, it’s on my doorstep within two days. However, in the case of trying to explain hypospadias to him, the only books I found included ‘Franklin Goes to the Hospital’ to repair his broken shell, ‘Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital’ to repair his broken leg, ‘Curious George Goes to the Hospital’ to have a puzzle piece that he swallowed removed, and ‘Goodbye Tonsils’ about a girl who had her tonsils removed. There were no children’s stories about anyone who had hypospadias and a catheter following surgery.”

“Down There Bear was written so that parents don’t have to struggle with how and what to say to their child. My hope is that this book will help parents be truthful with their child, and that those undergoing hypospadias repair won’t feel so alone,” said Smith. “The reality of hypospadias repair surgery is that many of these children will have multiple surgeries over the course of a few years and we owe it to them to be honest and truthful in a way that they can understand as they get older.”

Encouraging Deb Smith to publish this first time ever children’s book was Operation Happenis™ which was established in August 2014 by Dr. Nicol Bush and Dr. Warren Snodgrass at PARC Urology in Frisco, Texas. The charity’s mission is to raise awareness, improve care, promote research, and provide support to those dealing with hypospadias and other penile birth defects. The organization hosts numerous free educational webinars for those affected by hypospadias and offers a Parents Network open to any parent of a child with hypospadias. Additionally, Drs. Bush and Snodgrass have written a medical textbook called Hypospadiology in which all the proceeds are donated back to the charity.

According to Operation Happenis, “Penile birth defects are the second most common in the world, following congenital heart defects in prevalence. Of these penis conditions, hypospadias is the most common, occurring in 1 of every 200 newborn boys. Hypospadias occurs in all races and ethnicities. Each year approximately two million boys are born in the United States. Each day, 27 boys are born in the U.S. with hypospadias and 900 are born with hypospadias every day throughout the world.”

Through Operation Happenis, the Maddox R. Smith Library was started consisting of toys for all ages, books, and snacks for patients and their families who travel from all over the world to PARC Urology (the charity’s headquarters) for hypospadias repair. “I couldn’t imagine the helplessness that a parent must feel traveling from across the world for their son’s surgery,” said Deb Smith. “Families from all over the U.S. as well as countries such as China, Iraq and Jordan travel to PARC Urology for hypospadias revision surgery. If we can put a smile on the face of a little boy and his parents on their toughest days our journey was well worth it.”

Looking ahead, future plans of Operation Happenis include continued fundraisers to purchase enough Down There Bears books so that each of the children going through a repair don’t have to have their operation alone. In fact a prototype stuffed animal of the bear in the book was made so that it can have a catheter following surgery, just like the kids. When it comes time for the kids’ catheter to be removed, they can remove the Down There Bear’s catheter as well. Coloring books are also being designed to share with patients as they recover from surgery designed after Down There Bear books.

Providing additional support, The Hypospadias and Epispadias Association, Inc. (HEA) headquartered in Amsterdam, New York educates people with these birth defects and congenital differences. Established in 2000, the nonprofit hosted its annual conference in Dallas, October 13-15 and Deb Smith served as a guest speaker on her own story with her son Maddox and the work she’s doing with her book and through Operation Happenis.

Earlier this year, WFAA - Channel 8 ABC, featured a segment on hypospadias which can be viewed by clicking here. In addition, a story was featured on YouTube from Medical City Frisco about the specialists who treat hypospadias as well as Deb’s story about her son which can be viewed by clicking here. To learn more about hypospadias or to buy Deb Smith’s book please visit www.operationhappenis.org

About Deb Smith
Deb Smith is the proud Mom of an amazing boy, named Maddox, who was born with distal hypospadias. Though originally from New Jersey, she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Forensic Science in Connecticut. Deb relocated to Texas in 2008 for a position in the drug unit at the Dallas County Crime Lab. When Maddox was born in 2011 and diagnosed with hypospadias shortly after, Deb made the decision to leave the crime lab to focus on his health. Through her experiences with Maddox’s nine total surgeries, Deb decided to pursue a career in nursing. She is currently finishing her final semester of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. Deb has accepted a position as a Nurse Resident at Cook Children’s Medical Center following graduation. In her spare time, Deb enjoys spending time with her family and cheering from the sidelines of Maddox’s baseball and football games. Her journey as a Mom of a son with hypospadias helped her identify the need to raise awareness and generate support for other parents going through similar challenges. She is a parent advocate at PARC Urology where she dedicates her time to helping other families facing the same diagnosis.

About Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing
The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) located in Dallas was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1950 establishing the school among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the school. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through a Traditional program and FastBacc (one year accelerated) program. LHSON also offers an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Innovation program, as well as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs to include, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. LHSON was featured in U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) for the 2018 Best Graduate Schools ranking the DNP program #47 and MSN program #56.The Nurse Midwifery program’s 2017 #10 ranking remains in place for four years. In 2017, USNWR ranked the Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation online degree program at #39 of the “2017 Best Online Graduate Programs.” For more information visit www.baylor.edu/nursing
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