PROVIDE YOUR FEEDBACK IN CHOC’S PHYSICIAN ENGAGEMENT SURVEY, APRIL 25-MAY 23

The 2016 Physician Engagement Survey will be held April 25-May 23, 2016 for CHOC physicians on our medical staff. Don’t miss this opportunity to provide CHOC with your valuable input, which will allow the organization to further strengthen and improve its programs and services, to better serve you and our children.

Please look for a survey invitation via email from Press Ganey, who is conducting the survey on behalf of CHOC. The email contains the survey link and your individually assigned password. Please be assured all individual responses and comments are confidential. Your responses will be consolidated and reported in aggregate.

In appreciation of completing the survey, all participants will be entered in a raffle for a chance to win one of the following prizes: gift card to The Resort at Pelican Hill; gift card to The Ritz-Carlton; gift card to Mastro’s Restaurants; and gift card to Amazon. One winner will be selected each week of the survey.

In addition, all physicians who complete the survey and submit the entry form, will receive two tickets to an Angels game.

We highly encourage your participation in this brief online survey. For questions, please contact Leslie Castelo, director, business development at CHOC, at 714-509-4329 or lcastelo@choc.org.

Local Businessman Shares Why the CHOC Follies Is A Must-See Show!

Known as one of Orange County’s most unique and popular fundraisers, the CHOC Follies is back again with the newest musical production, “Carly and the Choco Factory: An Orange County Musical of Sweethearts, Swindlers and Swashbucklers!” benefiting CHOC Children’s.

Featuring a talented cast of local social and business leaders, who graciously donate their time rehearsing for the show and fundraising for CHOC, the humorous production promises to be a crowd pleaser yet again.

We talked to Michael Velasco, a new CHOC Follies cast member and vice president of fulfillment services at Meridian in Tustin, about the upcoming show.

CHOC Follies

Q: How did you get involved with the show? Why is this important to you?

A: I’ve been a long-time supporter of CHOC, and have worked as a partner with CHOC Marketing and Communications and the CHOC Foundation for many years. This is important to me because I care about people, especially children. We are a community and are all one family, and should help each other. The Meridian team and I like to support all the good work that CHOC does.

Q: What character will you play in the show?

A: I don’t play a main character, but participate in all group acts. I’m happy to support awareness of CHOC Follies and the philanthropic goals raised by the cast members. I’m in awe of the cast and their skill sets. We’ve been rehearsing since January, twice a week. This is new and challenging for me, but I’m having a good time!

Q: What is your favorite part of the show so far?

A: The cast and everyone involved. This is a group of genuinely great human beings. The cast camaraderie and support of each other are admirable. You can’t participate and fly solo. You have to trust in the directors and cast, and they have to trust in you. I’m humbled by and grateful for this experience.

Q: Who should come to the show?

A: Everyone – family, friends and coworkers!

Q: What’s going to surprise people about the show?

A: The CHOC Follies directors and cast do an outstanding job of creating a high-quality musical. It’s going to be an exciting performance. Come see us, make time to relax and recharge!

“Carly and the Choco Factory” will be held on March 31-April 2, at the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College, in Costa Mesa.

Purchase tickets and learn more here.  Or, call the CHOC Foundation at 714-509-8690.

CHOC Provides Comprehensive Care for Children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1

CHOC Children’s Neurofibromatosis Program – a recently nationally recognized program by the Children’s Tumor Foundation as a Neurofibromatosis Affiliate Clinic – provides comprehensive care to even the most rare medical issues in association with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

Dr. Neda Zadeh
Dr. Neda Zadeh

NF1 is a common genetic condition that primarily affects the skin and the nervous system and is caused by a change or mutation in a single gene called NF1.  This condition occurs in approximately one in every 3,000 children. The majority of these children do very well, have happy and healthy lives and may not have major skin issues, developmental disabilities or other neurological issues, says Dr. Neda Zadeh a CHOC medical geneticist and associate director of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Genetics Center.  However, due to the known complications that can accompany this condition, comprehensive multidisciplinary care is strongly recommended.

“Half of the time, NF1 can occur for the first time in a child due to a spontaneous mutation in the NF1 gene at the time of conception, and is not inherited from a parent,” explains Dr. Zadeh. “It is important for parents to realize that this condition is not the result of anything an expectant mother did or did not do during her pregnancy. In the other 50 percent of patients, we often will see that one of the parents also has NF1 and may not even realize it.”

In order to meet criteria for an NF1 diagnosis, patients must meet two of the following criteria established in 1988 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), summarized below:

  • Six or more café-au-lait macules of a specific measured diameter depending on the age of the individual (over 5 mm in greatest diameter in prepubertal individuals and over 15 mm in greatest diameter in postpubertal individuals).
  • Two or more neurofibromas of any type or one plexiform neurofibroma.
  • Freckling in the axillary or inguinal regions.
  • Optic glioma.
  • Two or more iris Lisch nodules (iris hamartomas) observed on dilated eye exam.
  • A distinctive bony lesion (sphenoid dysplasia or tibial pseudarthrosis).
  • A first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or offspring) with a known diagnosis of NF1 as defined by the above criteria.

These NIH diagnostic criteria are extremely accurate in adults and children over the age of 5 years. A diagnosis of NF1 should be suspected in individuals who have any one of the above findings. Often if children are younger than 5 at the first evaluation, he or she may not yet have met the above criteria, but may do so after they reach school age. For this reason, visiting a geneticist on a regular basis is important in order to monitor and care for the patient.  Also, in certain cases in which a diagnosis is not completely clear, or there is concern for a different diagnosis, genetic testing via sequencing and deletion/duplication analysis of the NF1 gene is available and usually coordinated after genetic counseling occurs.

Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a completely separate disorder, is even more rare than NF1.  A patient with NF1 is not at an increased risk compared to the general population to have NF2, especially if there is a negative family history.

Children with NF1 require care from multiple specialists including neurosurgery, neurology, oncology and orthopaedics, and at CHOC is seen at least annually by a geneticist, who aids in coordinating care and management of the condition. CHOC’s  multidisciplinary NF clinic involves all of the above specialists in the routine care of children with NF1 and other related disorders.

“We also can provide information to a patient and their families regarding the possibility to have further children in the family with NF1,” says Dr. Zadeh.

CHOC’s Neurofibromatosis Program has been treating children with NF1 for more than 30 years and annually cares for at least 150 children with NF1. The special program includes CHOC specialists currently involved in cutting edge clinical trials that are not available at many pediatric centers.

Learn more about the genetics program at CHOC.

CHOC Celebrates Child Life Week

The team of child life specialists at CHOC Children’s strives to “normalize” the hospital environment for patients and families. By making things like medical procedures and equipment less foreign, patients can focus on what’s important: feeling better.

“At a children’s hospital, we are doing much more than treating illness.  We are healing children and caring for families, says Dr. David Gibbs, division chief pediatric surgery, CHOC Children’s Specialists.  “Child life gives our young patients a sense of comfort, control, and understanding that is not only helpful to them but reassuring to their families.”

CHOC Children's Child Life

Child Life’s work includes surgery preparation and support; therapeutic medical play; new diagnosis education and support; developmental stimulation; sibling support; and specialized therapeutic programs like pet, art and music therapy.

As a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Gibbs sees first-hand the impact this unique team has on a patient’s recovery.

“Child Life helps calm, cheer, and inform the child before surgery.  This actually reduces the need for medication and promotes more rapid healing and recovery,” he adds.

In recognition of Child Life Week, CHOC celebrates our dynamic child life team, and the role they play in our commitment to patient and family-centered care. Watch this video for a glimpse into CHOC child life.

To reach CHOC’s child life department, please call 714-509-8473. 

Learn more about CHOC’s child life services.

CHOC Experts Provide High Level of Care for Brachial Plexus Surgery

CHOC Children’s offers the highest level of care for children requiring brachial plexus surgery.

Brachial plexus surgery is a complex procedure that repairs damage to the bundle of connected nerves in the neck region. Damage to these nerves is often caused by birth complications, contact sport collisions and automobile accidents. A severe brachial plexus injury can cause a patient to lose function and sensation in their arm, impairing their ability to perform everyday tasks.

Surgical procedures such as nerve grafts and transfers can restore this function and sensation and help the patient regain their lost quality of life.

“While many patients will regain movement with therapy alone, a small percentage will require nerve surgery,” says Dr. Joffre Olaya, pediatric neurosurgeon at CHOC. “Patients may even need a series of surgeries,” he adds. “The first surgery may be focused on the nerves, where the second would be focused on the transfer of muscle or movement of bones.”

The experienced multidisciplinary team at CHOC is fully equipped to handle all aspects of the repair and guide the patient and their family through every stage of treatment and healing. The surgery is performed in the Tidwell Procedure Center at CHOC, which features seven operating rooms and advanced technology and information systems.

“We like to evaluate patients as early as possible,” says Dr. Amber Leis, a CHOC and UC Irvine plastic surgeon. “We want to be part of the child’s journey and provide long-term care to ensure the best possible outcome.”

Whether or not these patients end up requiring surgery, they all benefit from therapy, explains Dr. Leis. CHOC is proud to offer the latest, research-based physical therapy in one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation centers in the area. Further, depending on their age, diagnosis and treatment plan, some brachial plexus patients may benefit from aquatic physical therapy, which takes place in the center’s pool.

Dr. Olaya and Dr. Leis are committed to building a robust, one-of-a-kind brachial plexus program for children in the region and beyond.

They offer community physicians the following guidelines on when to refer:

  • As early as possible, after a brachial plexus birth palsy with impaired arm movement.
  • After a sports or motor vehicle accident with impaired arm movement or sensation.

Learn more about surgical services at CHOC.