At Methodist Children’s Hospital, There’s No Need to Stand Alone

Thursday, August 1, 2013

This year, Methodist Children’s Hospital celebrates 15 years at the forefront of pediatric care. With a family-centered philosophy and unparalleled breadth of specialty services, Methodist Children’s Hospital provides children of the San Antonio area the highest quality care.

Methodist Children’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer J. Mark McLoone, FACHE, explains that the administration’s objective is to establish perennially outstanding pediatric medicine for the region.

“We’re creating a sustainable model that neither burdens the taxpayers in our community nor requires extraordinary philanthropy,” McLoone says. “We’re growing a children’s hospital that will truly benefit generations of people in the San Antonio area.”

For an establishment already capturing approximately 42 percent of the market share in pediatric admissions, according to statistics published by the Texas Hospital Association through the first quarter of 2013, the key to current and future success is embracing the expertise and resources available on its own campus.

Patricia Tenner, MD
Patricia Tenner, MD, Division Director of Children’s Critical Care Specialists at Methodist Children’s Hospital

Pediatric intensivist Patricia Tenner, MD, Division Director of Children’s Critical Care Specialists at Methodist Children’s Hospital, explains how resource sharing with the adult hospital affords facility and technological upgrades. These range from shared parking lot space to the capacity to perform pediatric plasmapheresis and stem-cell transplants.

“Because we’re able to share resources with the adult hospital, we have capabilities most other children’s hospitals can’t afford,” Dr. Tenner says. “We have many MRI and CT scanners, as well as top-of-the-line operating room [OR] equipment. We function just like a freestanding children’s hospital, but our relationship with Methodist Hospital allows us to offer the kids more.”

The Best of Both Worlds

One technological advantage the partnership between Methodist Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital introduced in late 2012 is a shared hybrid OR, which significantly upgraded cardiovascular surgery capabilities. The specialized room incorporates imaging modalities and surgical equipment that enables the OR team to dispense with intraoperative transport for imaging.

John Kupferschmid, MD, MBA, FACS
John Kupferschmid, MD, MBA, FACS, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Methodist Children’s Hospital

John Kupferschmid, MD, MBA, FACS, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Methodist Children’s Hospital, explains that the hybrid OR allows surgeons to perform complex procedures previously unavailable at the facility.

“We are able to image the interior of the heart very well before and after surgery, but we could not track our progress in areas exterior to the actual cardiac chambers,” Dr. Kupferschmid explains. “We can now ensure the feasibility of performing such operations as a Blalock-Taussig shunt, bidirectional Glenn shunt, Fontan procedure, arch or central pulmonary artery reconstruction, and similar procedures at the time of surgical repair. To have this ability is a game changer; we can now assess the need for these repairs promptly and, if necessary, fix the concerning area.”

No Adult Patients Allowed

Access to a hybrid OR makes surgery scheduling more convenient for both children and adults, and having seven dedicated pediatric surgical suites enables surgeons to schedule procedures without worrying about finding time in the adult surgical calendar.

Raymond M. Stefko, MD
Raymond M. Stefko, MD, Chief of Staff at Methodist Children’s Hospital

“Facilities without pediatric surgical suites must share scheduling time with hospitals that require the ORs for numerous adult surgical needs,” says Raymond M. Stefko, MD, Chief of Staff at Methodist Children’s Hospital. “Our dedicated suites allow us the freedom to schedule operations at our convenience. This allows for much more effective and time-efficient patient management.”

Each pediatric surgical suite contains dedicated equipment for all procedures, as well as storage space to accommodate the numerous sizes and shapes of pediatric orthopedic implants. The space was also designed to dispel fears and make children feel more comfortable.

“When pediatric patients roll into the operating room and wait for anesthesia, they’re not looking at a blank ceiling with bright lights,” Dr. Stefko explains. “They’re looking at colored acoustic tiles painted with different cartoon characters and figures that help ease their nerves. The environment makes it easier for children to transition.”

Seeing What Others Can’t

For children whose care requires imaging studies, a specialized, dedicated team of four pediatric radiologists brings 65 years of combined experience to the hospital, says Eric Hendrick, MD, pediatric radiologist at Methodist Children’s Hospital. Working closely with community pediatricians, hospitalists, neonatologists, pediatric intensivists and surgeons to ensure consistency across the continuum of care, radiology specialists are specially trained to perform appropriate imaging studies and interventional procedures for all pediatric patients — from the tiniest neonates to hearty 17-year-olds.

Eric Hendrick, MD
Eric Hendrick, MD, pediatric radiologist at Methodist Children’s Hospital

The relationship with the adult hospital gives Methodist Children’s Hospital experts access to state-of-the-art radiological and interventional radiological capabilities, such as gamma knife technology, 3-Tesla MRI and a broad spectrum of CT scanners, including a 128-detector CT scanner, to the pediatric community.

“Our location within Methodist Hospital’s Radiology Department allows us to use the most diversified neuroimaging and interventional equipment in the city,” Dr. Hendrick says. “We can also count on the best subspecialists in neuroimaging, oncologic imaging and orthopedic radiology. Our team of interventionalists provides all manner of services, from line placements to drainage procedures and image-guided biopsies.”

Methodist Children’s Hospital pediatric radiologist Michael Lane, MD, also lauds the administration’s commitment to provide pediatric care as evidenced by the support for adopting advanced technologies.

“Our leaders have been phenomenal in getting me the equipment and hardware I need to deliver care to children,” Dr. Lane says. “We also have the trained staff to use it.”

Team Emphasis

The sharing of resources between the adult and pediatric clinical areas of Methodist Hospital results in technology and support unique to the San Antonio area, with the people comprising the Methodist Children’s Hospital staff making the real difference. Dr. Tenner explains that an emphasis on teamwork benefits all who enter the hospital’s doors.

Methodist Childrens Hospital 770

“We’re a powerful team,” Dr. Tenner says. “We need to work together, and the positive culture pervading the hospital enables us that opportunity. We work extremely well within our independent disciplines, but our interdisciplinary collaboration sets us apart. We’re all like a family and enjoy working together to care for our patients. Because we have this collegial atmosphere, we’re able to provide better care to our patients.”

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