Former Packard Children’s patient returns as a resident

Ryan Lion

When RYAN LION began his pediatrics residency at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in July, he already knew some of the doctors and nurses he would be working with. Ten years before, they had saved his life.

In 2009, during the final semester of Lion’s senior year at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, he suddenly fell very ill.

“I had felt totally normal, and then in one specific moment everything changed,” Lion recalled. “I felt feverish, had chills. The next morning, I woke up with a rash on my arm and had weakness and pain in my joints. I could barely walk.”

Ryan’s local emergency department completed a series of blood tests that were sent to Packard Children’s for further evaluation.

DAVID CORNFIELD, chief of the Stanford Children’s Health Pulmonary, Asthma and Sleep Medicine Center and former chief of critical care medicine, was on service in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) that afternoon. He reviewed Lion’s lab results and recognized evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation, a dangerous condition affecting the blood’s ability to clot and stop bleeding. He called for Lion’s immediate transfer to the PICU at Packard Children’s.

Cornfield and his team worked quickly to place intravenous catheters, deliver fluids and administer antibiotics and a medication to strengthen Lion’s blood vessels. Lion spent the next week in the hospital being treated for organ damage caused by the infection.

Ultimately, he went on to graduate from high school a few months after his illness. He attended college, graduate school and medical school before matching for his pediatrics residency program at Stanford.

“I was always interested in medicine, and being hospitalized reaffirmed my plans to pursue it,” Lion said. “But never did I imagine in that moment that I would be a physician at the very same institution that cared for me, part of the same care team, now on the other side of delivering care.”

Read more on the Stanford Medicine website.