Autoimmune Disease HSP Typically Includes Red Rash

Dr. Barth with Bodie Parra

Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP) is a painful autoimmune disease where  the small blood vessels in the skin, intestines and kidneys are swollen and irritated. The main symptom is a rash that starts off as red spots and  within 3-6 days turns purple and looks like a bruise.

When kindergarten started earlier this year, Bodie Parra’s chair was empty. The 6-year-old was at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, hooked to IVs, battling a severe case of HSP.

But now, thanks to careful diagnostic work by Bradley Barth, M.D., Clinical Director of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Children’s — along with top-notch care from the Children’s team, a strong course of steroids, and a lot of love and care — Bodie is hard at work on art projects, learning about the letter W, and playing on the playground with his fellow classmates.

A Non-Typical HSP Diagnosis

What made Bodie’s case tricky to diagnose at first is that he didn’t have the hallmark symptom of HSP — a rash of red spots — until later. The family had just gotten home from vacation when Bodie got what appeared to be a stomach bug. But when the pain got much worse and stopped acting like a stomach bug, a friend suggested to Bodie’s mom, Alexa, that she make an appointment with Dr. Barth.

When Alexa casually mentioned that Bodie had developed a rash, Dr. Barth put the pieces together. “I had seen this before: the pain is very puzzling until the rash comes on,” he says. The diagnosis was the very important first step, but Bodie still spent more than a week in the hospital at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as doctors managed his pain and treated him for the gastrointestinal disorder.

“It was really hard to see him so sick,” Alexa says. But having Dr. Barth so accessible definitely helped her get through the toughest parts. “I would text him, and he would immediately answer my questions,” she says.

After being released from the hospital, Bodie has conveniently had his follow up visits in his hometown of Southlake with Dr. Barth, who is also part of the Gastroenterology team at the Children’s Specialty Care Center in Southlake.

Members of the Southlake Community

Dr. Barth isn’t just part of the Gastroenterology team at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake, he’s part of the community. In fact, all three of the gastroenterologists working at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake are residents of the city.

Dr. Barth Bradley

Bradley Barth, M.D.

“Our kids go to schools in the area, and we are familiar with the issues that surround growing up in Colleyville, Grapevine, Keller and Southlake,” Dr. Barth says. “I think it helps to be a part of the community when treating patients and talking with parents who live here. We have a vested interest in making the practice successful because we love the location and want our patients to speak well of us and refer friends or family members who may need help.”

Dr. Barth points out that all of the pediatric gastroenterologists at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake are also UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty, which means that they are always up on the latest research. Plus, since teaching is part of their mission, they understand the importance of good communication. “It’s important to be able to explain things to parents and kids,” Dr. Barth says.

I really feel that we have a core group of experienced, personable gastroenterologists working in Southlake who are dedicated to running an efficient, service-oriented, patient-centered practice.

The fact that Children’s is the only pediatric provider ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology in North Texas means that families living in Southlake and the surrounding areas can have their kids treated by physicians who are nationally recognized as experts in their various GI areas, such as IBD, abdominal pain, constipation, pancreatic disease and endoscopy.


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