CHOC Children’s Begins NICU Expansion

To enhance its patient- and family-centered care experience and meet the growing demand for services, CHOC Children’s Hospital has launched an exp  ansion to its neonatal intensive care unit.

The build-out will create 36 private patient rooms with amenities to allow parents and guardians to comfortably stay overnight with their critically ill babies receiving highly specialized care at CHOC.

“Every parent wants to stay as close to their baby as possible, especially when the infant needs a high level of medical attention,” said Dr. Vijay Dhar, medical director of CHOC’s NICU. “The expansion to CHOC’s NICU will offer parents and guardians reassurance that they’ll be nearby while their baby receives the highest level of care. As an organization committed to patient- and family-centered care, CHOC is proud to soon offer private rooms to our smallest patients and their parents.”

CHOC NICU Patient Room

Expected to open in summer 2017, the new solo rooms will be housed on the fourth floor of the state-of-the-art Bill Holmes Tower. A potential second phase of construction could add more beds.

Private NICU rooms are setting a new standard for improved patient outcomes. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that infants cared for in single-family rooms weighed more at discharge and gained weight more rapidly than those who received care in an open design. Also, they required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and experienced less stress, lethargy and pain. The researchers attributed these findings to increased maternal involvement.

Further, the private-room setting provides the space and privacy that parents need to be more intimately involved in the care of their baby, including breast-feeding and skin-to-skin contact, and parents can stay overnight with their child. In addition, private rooms give staff more access to and interaction with the family and patient.

CHOC’s expanded unit will also feature a multipurpose family room, sibling activity room, additional office space and other enhanced amenities.

CHOC NICU Main Waiting RoomA fundraising campaign by CHOC to raise $22 million is underway to complete the project. To that end, CHOC has received a $100,000 gift in support of the project from Ray Zadjmool and Nazy Fouladirad on behalf of Tevora, an Orange County information security consulting firm. A room in the unit will be named in honor of the gift.

“We are very happy to support CHOC in the work they do for our community, our neighbors, and our kids,” said Zadjmool, Tevora’s chief executive officer.

Other donors who have contributed to the project include the estate of Martha Sheff; the late Margaret Sprague; the estate of Ruth Miller; Credit Union for Kids; the Tinkerbell Guild;  Richard and Bobby Ann Stegemeier; Dr. Sherry Phelan & John H. Phelan, Jr.; Ashly and Brandon Howald; and the estate of Florence Jones.

CHOC NICU Corridor Nurse Alcove

For several decades, CHOC has served infants requiring the highest level of care. CHOC’s neonatal services currently offer 67 beds at CHOC Orange and the CHOC Children’s NICU at St. Joseph Hospital, 22 beds at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital, and a team of premier neonatologists who provide coverage at hospitals throughout Southern California.

A suite of specialized services comprises the CHOC NICU: the Surgical NICU, which provides dedicated care to babies needing or recovering from surgery; the Small Baby Unit, where infants with extremely low birth weights receive coordinated care; the Neurocritical NICU, where babies with neurological problems are cohorted; and the Cardiac NICU, which provides comprehensive care for neonates with congenital heart defects.

CHOC’s NICU was recently named one of the nation’s “top 25” by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting CHOC’s unwavering commitment to the highest standards of patient care and safety.

To learn more about the NICU expansion, visit http://www.choc.org/nicuinitiative.

CHOC Children’s Receives $500,000 Grant For Mental Health Initiative

CHOC Children’s recently received the first installment of a $500,000 capital grant in support of its mental health initiative from the Pacific Life Foundation. CHOC Children's Mental Health Inpatient Center

In honor of the gift, a cluster of six private patient rooms in the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center will be named after the Pacific Life Foundation, the charitable arm of Newport Beach-based insurance company Pacific Life.

“CHOC Children’s Hospital and the Pacific Life Foundation are longtime partners and it is an honor to provide CHOC with a substantial grant to support their efforts to care for those young patients and their families in Orange County struggling with mental illness,” said Tennyson Oyler, president of the Pacific Life Foundation.

The Center is the cornerstone of a transformational mental health initiative announced by CHOC and community leaders in May 2015. The initiative will ensure children, adolescents and young adults with mental illness get the health care services and support they currently lack in Orange County’s fragmented system of care.

The Center is specially designed for children ages 3 to 18 to receive care for mental health conditions. It will also provide specialty programming for children younger than 12.

Work is underway to extensively remodel the third floor of CHOC’s Research Building, located on the west side of the hospital’s main campus, to house 18 beds in a secure, healing environment, as well as an outdoor area for recreation. The Center is expected to open in early 2018.

Learn more about CHOC’s mental health initiative.  

CHOC Children’s Health Center, Mission Viejo Moves to New Location

CHOC Children's Health Center, Mission ViejoBeginning Jan. 18, 2016, CHOC Children’s Health Center, Mission Viejo will be located at: Los Altos Medical Plaza, 26691 Plaza, Suite 130, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Our spacious new location features 10 exam rooms and a procedure room. The following outpatient specialty care services will continue to be offered: cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, rheumatology and surgery (pre- and post-op).

Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For questions, please contact Dini Baker, manager specialty clinics at CHOC, at dbaker@choc.org.

 

In the Spotlight: Jonathan Minor, M.D.

The newest addition to the CHOC Children’s Orthopaedic Institute team, Dr. Jonathan Minor brings a unique expertise in ultrasound-guided injections and procedures, as well as diagnostic ultrasound evaluations. As a non-surgical sports medicine physician, he has a special interest in sports and dance injuries, concussion management and advanced musculoskeletal ultrasound medicine.

CHOC Children's Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Minor’s commitment to helping young athletes stems from his own experience growing up playing sports. As an adult, he has completed multiple marathons and Ironman triathlons, including three Long Course World Championship races with Team USA.

In addition to recognizing and treating acute injuries, Dr. Minor is dedicated to preventing overuse injuries. His research has been diverse: identifying running gait mechanics related to injuries, reporting of concussions, and evidence-based approaches to joint injections. He presented original work at the 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference showing concussion reporting among high school football players remains problematic, and is trying to shed light on risk factors that may influence reporting.

Dr. Minor’s passion for sports medicine and orthopaedics was inspired by his father, an accomplished orthopaedic surgeon.

“I was moved by my dad being able to take an injury, and just like a carpenter, put it back together,” Dr. Minor said. “As a non-surgeon, I consider myself more like an architect, laying out a floor plan, and bringing together a team of providers to safely return our athletes back to the sports arena. I recognize that often there are multiple ways to solve the same problem.”

Dr. Minor attended medical school at Texas A&M University System
Health Sciences Center, College of Medicine. He completed his residency training at McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White, followed by a non-surgical sports medicine fellowship and an additional musculoskeletal ultrasound fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.

During his training in Boston, he served as team physician for several collegiate and high school teams, including Northeastern University men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams.  He also worked closely with the Boston Ballet.

Dr. Jonathan Minor

A chance to work with the expert team at CHOC eventually led him back to his native California. He was drawn to the opportunity to help grow the program. The CHOC Orthopaedic Institute plans to expand the footprint of the sports medicine program, with the addition of physical therapists, new regional physical therapy locations, and integrating injury prevention with clinical practice. The department has also added Dr. Jessica McMichael, an orthopaedic surgeon, who will help to develop an osteogenesis imperfecta program at CHOC.

Dr. Minor has quickly become an integral part of the team, treating everything from ankle and knee ligament sprains, to overuse injuries and concussions. Through the use of ultrasound-guided injections, he provides bedside visualization of body tissues, which can confirm the location of pain and assist with surgical decision-making. Classically, injections are performed blindly, with risk of poor accuracy, or with fluoroscopy, with exposure to radiation and often, increased discomfort. The ultrasound-guided injections offer a quicker recovery and can sometimes be used to avoid surgery altogether.

“While cortisone injections are not performed brazenly among pediatric patients, they can be used judiciously here at CHOC to provide cutting-edge care,” Dr. Minor explains.

He offers physicians the following guidelines on when to refer:

  • An acute injury or ankle sprain, with negative x-rays and pain after 1-2 weeks.
  • Persistence of pain despite rest, ice, compression/bracing, stretching and physical therapy.
  • Persistent joint swelling.
  • Painful popping and clicking.

Dr. Minor sees patients at CHOC Children’s Clinic; CHOC Children’s Health Center, Corona; and Adult & Pediatric Orthopaedic Specialists in Mission Viejo. To contact him, please call 949-600-8800, ext. 205.

 

When Vascular Anomalies Are More Than a Blemish

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Dr. Daniel Jaffurs (center), surrounded by his colleagues in surgical services, with the latest pulsed dye laser model – the Vbeam Perfecta.

Many babies are born with small blemishes—a little patch of redness here, a birthmark there. While these typically aren’t cause for concern, some cases may become problematic and require extra care.

“If a hemangioma is in a cosmetically sensitive area, or if it’s impairing vision, eating or hearing, it should be referred to a specialist,” according to CHOC Children’s plastic surgeon Daniel Jaffurs, MD. “A rapid-growing or large hemangioma should also be referred.”

Casey’s Story

 When Casey Lang was born, she had two small marks on her body: one on her left cheek, and one on her abdomen. Doctors initially diagnosed it as a stork bite that would go away on its own. By the time Casey was two months old, however, the blemish on her face had become blotchy and was encroaching on her eye, and the growth on her abdomen had grown to the size of a lime.
Casey at birth and at two months old.
Casey at birth and at two months old.

Casey’s parents took her to her pediatrician, who referred her to Dr. Jaffurs. Immediately upon seeing Casey, he diagnosed the marks as infantile hemangiomas and consulted with the rest of the team from the CHOC Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center. They recommended that Casey be admitted to CHOC that day for comprehensive testing, to determine the severity of the hemangiomas.

“They started her on propranolol in the hospital and the journey started from there,” mom Michelle says. “It was a year on the medication, and we came to CHOC every single month. The medication was remarkable. It brought down the hemangioma on her face and opened up her eye.”

The growth on Casey’s stomach did not respond as well to the medication and was surgically removed by Dr. Jaffurs. What remained of the hemangioma on Casey’s face, however, could be treated with a simple procedure that had just become available at CHOC.

No Surgery, No Scar

CHOC’s new pulsed dye laser (PDL) is a minimally invasive treatment for hemangiomas, port-wine stains and post-surgical scarring anywhere on the body. The laser delivers very quick pulses of energy at a specific wavelength that is absorbed into the skin, destroying the abnormal blood vessels just below the surface. CHOC uses the latest PDL model—the Vbeam Perfecta— because of its level of precision, which is especially important when lasering sensitive areas like near the eye.

Casey after her first laser treatment, and after her second laser treatment.
Casey after her first laser treatment, and after her second treatment.

“With this new laser, we sometimes can avoid an operation which leaves a lasting scar,” Dr. Jaffurs says. “And, you can see the results immediately.”

CHOC’s pediatrics-trained anesthesiologists give patients a small amount of anesthesia using a mask, to relax them and minimize movement during the procedure. Patients are sent home the same day; side effects are very minimal and may include slight pain or bruising. The number of treatments needed depends on the location and size of the vascular anomaly.

Casey was one of the first patients at CHOC to be treated with the pulsed dye laser and after just two treatments, the hemangioma on her face is nearly gone. Most patients require three to five treatments depending on the severity of the malformation.

“I want other parents to know that if their child has this, there is a cure for them,” Michelle says. “The team they have at CHOC, it’s just amazing, and if you go there, you’re going to get answers.”

The CHOC Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center brings together pediatric specialists in hematology, plastic surgery, head and neck surgery (ENT), dermatology, cardiology and more to assess and treat all forms of vascular anomalies and malformations in children. For more information, call 714-509-3313.