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Wisdom of Families: Our Children Deserve State of the Art Pediatric Care
by Trillium Hibbeln on 02/01/2011 at 11:29 AM



As parents we want what is best for our children. We carefully select our child's doctor, make sure our children get the right schooling they need and we can be very particular about what they eat, what they wear, and who their friends are.

Since my daughter Sofina was hospitalized shortly after her birth 8 years ago, I have learned that not all health care for children is the same. There truly is a difference in a hospital that is "all kids, all the time."

However, I have seen research that indicates parents' first choice for their child's health care is usually based on the convenience of going to a local hospital. To some degree this makes sense; parents are likely to rely on the local hospital if their child was born there, or if their physician practices there.

But is your local hospital adequately prepared, in terms of staffing and equipment to handle a pediatric medical emergency? Nearly 90 percent of emergency visits by children take place in non-children's hospital settings. Yet only 1 of 20 hospital emergency rooms are prepared to appropriately treat a child according to a recent survey.

Beyond emergency care, children have better health outcomes and a better experience in a hospital where everything and everyone is dedicated and trained to care for children.

Why children's hospitals are better prepared is because we care for "all kids, all the time." Children's hospitals attract a critical mass of pediatric specialists, and as a result, the expertise and the equipment to provide state-of-the-art health care for kids.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital has the only ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine in West Michigan for lifesaving treatment of babies with acute lung disease. Dedicated pediatric radiology equipment, including two magnetic resonance imaging machines, MRI and a dedicated cardiac catheterization lab to treat children's heart problems are just a few examples.

The collective expertise of pediatric specialists and participation in the latest research and national clinical trials means our children have access to leading edge therapies and treatment right here in Grand Rapids.

State-of-the-art care close to home is the real difference of a children's hospital. Our family has experienced the difference. I am wondering about your child's health care experiences?

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