In the Spotlight: Seth Brindis, M.D.

In addition to providing high-quality medical care, physicians and staff at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s Hospital strive to make the experience less stressful for children and families.  One physician, in particular, has a few tricks to ease his patients’ fear and anxiety.  Dr. Seth Brindis, a board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialist and medical director of informatics, performs magic for his patients.

“For me, magic makes my job easier, instantly transforming what can be a scary experience for children to something fun. I incorporate magic into my physical exam as it makes the exam easier and more reliable when patients are comfortable with me and distracted. I tend to use coin tricks because they appeal to a wider range of ages, with the added benefit that the coins can be disinfected between patient contacts.”

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an emergency in order to see Dr. Brindis’ magic. With help from child life, he occasionally puts on impromptu magic shows in the CHOC theater for inpatients, their siblings and parents.

Dabbling in magic since childhood, Dr. Brindis’ interest in magic was revitalized while in residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he realized that simple tricks with cards and coins could help make connections with patients and staff. Since then, he has continued to study magic, even taking courses tailored for magic in medicine. Seeing thousands of patients each year, Dr. Brindis gets ample time to try out new tricks and help patients and their families leave with positive experiences and smiles on their faces.

Exclusively dedicated to the treatment of pediatric patients, CHOC’s ED features 31 exam rooms, including two trauma bays, and three triage suites. The ED is staffed with doctors who are board-certified in emergency medicine and specially trained nurses who provide the very best patient- and family-centered care. Child life specialists work with patients to help them feel safe and secure, and make the process a lot less stressful for the entire family.

“The ED is often the gateway for many families who are coming to our organization for the first time. We’re working together to deliver the best care to those who need it most. My job is to understand what is distressing to a parent in the middle of the night and either educate and reassure the family or intervene when called for.”

As the only trauma center in Orange County dedicated exclusively for kids, CHOC is ready to treat injuries 24 hours a day. The trauma team is trained to care for children and their unique physiological, anatomical and emotional needs, and CHOC’s protocols and equipment are specially designed for pediatrics.

The ED saw over 49,000 patients in the first year it opened. This year, it’s on pace to see more than 85,000 patients – an incredible rate of growth, which Dr. Brindis credits to the coordination and cooperation between the ED physicians, EMSOC leadership, and nursing, as well as CHOC administration.

“I love being a part of this team. I feel like we provide exemplary care to every person who enters our doors. Often, I feel like the conductor of an orchestra of care. There is no way I could do my job without the incredible people I work with. It really is impressive to watch our team working in concert to stabilize a really sick child.”

Dr. Brindis received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He completed his pediatric residency and pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) fellowship training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. In addition to caring for patients in the ED, he is actively involved with the training and teaching of pediatric and emergency medicine residents as well as the PEM fellows.

In his spare time, Dr. Brindis enjoys spending time with his wife, son and daughter. He also enjoys cooking, painting and, of course, working on his magic.

Meet Dr. Mary Jane Piroutek

CHOC Children’s wants its reffering physicians to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Mary Jane Piroutek, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist.

CHOC Children's

Q: What is your education and training?

A:  I graduated from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. I completed my pediatric residency at CHOC Children’s and my pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Q: What are your administrative appointments?

A:  I hold the academic appointment of assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine at Loma Linda University.

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A:  I am especially interested in pediatric trauma, environmental injuries, and endocrine emergencies.

Q: How long have you been on staff at CHOC?

A:  I have been on staff for five years.

Q: What are some new programs or developments within your specialty?

A:  CHOC’s emergency department became a level II pediatric trauma center in 2015. We are the only trauma center in Orange County dedicated exclusively to kids. Or trauma team consists of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, social workers, child life, and a hospital chaplain.

Q: What are your most common diagnoses?

A:  Abdominal pain (from gastroenteritis to appendicitis), seizures, traumatic injuries (lacerations, closed head injuries, fractured arms and legs), and respiratory illnesses (bronchiolitis, asthma, and pneumonia).

Q: What would you most like patients and families to know about you or your division at CHOC?

A:  At CHOC, our emergency department is staffed with fellowship-trained pediatric emergency medicine specialists. Our dual training makes us especially knowledgeable and skilled in caring for your child during their visit. CHOC Children’s is the only emergency department in Orange County that exclusively treats children. Treating children in an environment created especially for them makes what could be a scary experience into something more enjoyable.

Q:  What inspires you most about the care being delivered here at CHOC? 

A:  CHOC delivers the highest level of pediatric care while embracing and caring for the entire family.

Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor? 

A:  In high school I volunteered in a community hospital in the labor and delivery unit. I really enjoyed being part of a family’s joyous occasion. In college I volunteered in the emergency department and marveled at the fast pace, acuity and unpredictably of what the next patient’s case would bring. My academic love for science and solving problems made becoming a physician a very natural fit.

Q: If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?

A:  I honestly don’t know. Once I decided that I wanted to be a doctor, I never really considered anything else. I put all of my energy and focus into medicine.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?

A:  I like spending time with family and friends and traveling. I am also an avid Anaheim Ducks hockey fan.

Q: What have you learned from your patients? 

A:  Children are brave and have a remarkable capacity for resilience. This is evident in the child that sustains a broken leg playing soccer and is unafraid and eager to play again. Or the teenage cancer patient that is most concerned about how their family is being affected by and is dealing with their illness. My patients are humbling and help me to be a better person.

Q: What was the funniest thing a patient told you?

A:  Kids say funny things all the time. One of my favorites was a little 4 year old girl that had ingested coins and they were stuck in her esophagus. When I asked her what happened she shrugged her shoulder and with a mischievous look in her eyes said, “I ate the money, I’m not supposed to eat the money.”  Also recently a patient told me I looked like Snow White (which I don’t) and she called me Dr. Snow White the whole time I took care of her.

Dr. James Pierog discusses pediatric emergency medicine

A pediatric-dedicated emergency department is staffed with medical professionals who are specially trained to handle pediatric emergencies, Dr. James Pierog, medical director of emergency medical services at CHOC Children’s, tells “American Health Journal.”

Specially trained physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists, as well as child life specialists, are on hand at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s to ensure top care for children in need of medical attention, Dr. Pierog says.

Learn more about pediatric emergency services in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 30 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit www.discoverhealth.tv.

James Pierog, M.D., is an emergency medicine specialist, board certified in emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine. He attended medical school at UCLA. He completed an internship in internal medicine and his residency in emergency medicine at the USC, Los Angeles County Medical Center.

Get more information about referring patients to CHOC, including a referral information directory, services directory and referral guidelines.

Dr. James Pierog Discusses Fever in Children

A fever itself causes no harm and can even be a good thing, Dr. James Pierog, medical director of emergency medical services at CHOC Children’s, tells “American Health Journal.”

A fever is a way that the body fights infections, and may be caused by a variety of things, including a simple virus that needs no intervention or a serious bacterial infection, he says.

Learn more about fevers and when a child should go to the emergency room in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 30 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit www.discoverhealth.tv.

 

James Pierog, M.D., is an emergency medicine specialist who is board certified in emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine. He attended medical school at UCLA. He completed an internship in internal medicine and his residency in emergency medicine at the USC, Los Angeles County Medical Center.

Get more information about referring patients to CHOC, including referral information directory, services directory and referral guidelines.