January 3, 2011
Attorneys Bryan Renehan, left, and Brian K. Pearlstein.
The law firm of Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein Lastra & Bouquet, Chartered in Gaithersburg, Md., recently pledged $20,000 to Hopkins Children's. Two of its partners, Brian K. Pearlstein and Bryan Renehan, tell the stories that led to their support.
Hopkins Children's Was the Right Place for Us
When my son, Noah, was born in 1996 in Washington D.C., his physicians believed he had biliary atresia. This sent me into an information gathering mode to find out what the diagnosis meant for our first-born.
Biliary atresia is a rare obstruction and inflammation of the bile ducts that causes bile to pool in the liver, with devastating consequences. Its only “cure,” then as now, is a liver transplant. My wife and I were devastated. Yet the surgeon to whom we were directed evidenced little compassion for our son’s plight or our despair. Wanting something better for Noah, as well as my family, I asked friends and other physicians where they would send their own child diagnosed with a critical illness. They answered “Johns Hopkins.”
So we traveled with Noah to Baltimore and Hopkins Children’s and into the care of a noted expert in biliary atresia, Kathleen Schwarz, medical director of its Pediatric Liver Transplant Program. What a difference. I walked in with a milk crate of information I’d compiled about my son’s diagnosis. Kathy was compassionate, patient and intelligent. She took the time to explain things to me and to answer all my questions. By the appointment’s end, I was as much at ease as one can be when your child is sick and very comfortable with her recommended course of care. That first meeting was enough for me to know that Hopkins Children’s was the right place for us.
Everyone we met here, from admitting to our son’s surgical nurses, was empathetic to what parents are going through. As it turned out, Noah did not have biliary atresia. His condition resolved itself, perhaps by the injection of dye during his initial exploratory surgery at Hopkins, which may have unplugged his bile ducts. But we followed up with Kathy until Noah was 6 or so and will ever be beholden to her.
Today, Noah is a healthy 14-year-old. When my law firm chose last year to enlarge its commitment to our community, we chose to support Hopkins Children’s. My legal partners and I pledged $20,000 over several years, $5,000 of which we have since donated. Eager to support the hospital’s fund-raising mission, I’ve joined Hopkins Children’s Corporate Advisory Board.
We are all proud to partner with Johns Hopkins, where the emotional care that patients and families receive before and after any procedure is as superb as the medical care itself. I just can’t say enough good things about the place.
Brian K. Pearlstein is managing partner of the law firm of Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein Lastra & Bouquet, Chartered in Gaithersburg, Md.
Our Commitment to Johns Hopkins
While my wife, Alexa, and I have used the services of Johns Hopkins over the years, our first significant family experience with Johns Hopkins occurred after her father, from Buffalo, Ny., developed wet macular degeneration. His treatment at Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute not only saved his sight, but improved his overall vision.
Then, in 2008, and upon reading about Hopkins’ revolutionary work with domino kidney transplants, Alexa decided to become an altruistic kidney donor. In giving one of her kidneys, in September 2009, she began the first international chain of kidney donations, which resulted in nine kidney transplants. She recovered quickly from her surgery and without adverse side effects.
While Alexa’s recipient and I consider her a hero, my wife’s own heroes are the staff and doctors at Johns Hopkins who put together this wonderful program. We are proud to support the work of Johns Hopkins Hospital by making a long-term financial commitment to Hopkins Children’s.
Bryan Renehan is the senior partner of Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein Lastra & Bouquet, Chartered, in Gaithersburg, Md.