May 24, 2016

52516transplant640Transplant teams with Texas Children’s Hospital performed 86 solid organ transplants in 2015, making it the most active pediatric transplant program in the nation.

The liver and the kidney transplant programs were the busiest with 30 liver transplants and 27 kidney transplants completed last year. Of the 27 kidney transplants, nine were living donors and 18 were deceased donors. The heart program completed 21 transplants in 2015 and the lung program finalized eight, making it one of the largest lung transplant programs in the country.

“I would like to commend our transplant teams for the exceptional work they do every day,” said Surgeon-In-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr. “Their great commitment to our transplant patients is inspiring and results in changed lives.”

Dr. John Goss, medical director of Transplant Services, said Texas Children’s Transplant Services continues to earn its reputation as one of the best pediatric transplant programs in the country.

“I believe our success is a testimony to the skill and commitment of our multidisciplinary team, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to all aspects of the transplant process, from initial referral to hospitalization and outpatient management,” Goss said. “We also work closely with patients, families and referring physicians to help make the evaluation process as convenient and efficient as possible.”

Goss added that the success of Texas Children’s transplant program would not be possible without the gifts from our selfless donors and their families.

“They are the ones responsible for providing our patients with a second chance at life,” he said. “We are forever grateful for their unwavering kindness.”

To learn more about Texas Children’s Transplant Services, click here.

May 18, 2016

51816surgerydesign640Texas Children’s Hospital is proud to announce the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has verified the hospital as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center.

The one-year verification was awarded following an extensive pilot site visit in May 2015. During the visit, Texas Children’s assisted in the review and refinement of guidelines set forth by ACS with the goal of improving the safety and quality of pediatric surgery performed at centers across the country. At this time, Texas Children’s is among only two Level 1 Children’s Surgery Centers in the United States, and the only children’s hospital in Texas and the southwest region to earn this distinction.

“We are honored to be one of the inaugural hospitals to receive this esteemed verification,” said Texas Children’s Surgeon-In-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr. “As a leader in pediatric surgical care, we believe it is important for children to undergo surgery with a focused, dedicated team of specialized pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, intensivists, nurses, staff and support departments committed to pediatric care. We carefully track our outcomes with the goal of providing the best possible results. We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to high-quality care for our patients.”

A Level 1 verification requires Texas Children’s to provide surgery and anesthesia for all major pediatric specialties for children of all ages – from premature infants to adolescents. Additionally, the hospital must have not only the highest level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), pediatric emergency medicine physicians and pediatric radiologists available all day, every day, but also the most robust data collection, outcomes assessment and quality improvement efforts.

A team of 25 physicians, nurses and members of the administration, anesthesiology, nursing, the outcomes and impact service, the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), quality, radiology, surgery and transport teams served on Texas Children’s ACS verification committee.

The Department of Surgery at Texas Children’s represents more than 90 full-time pediatric-focused surgeons who are also faculty members at Baylor. Surgeons, advanced practice providers and more than 700 Texas Children’s staff members are dedicated to caring for and improving the health of children through patient care, education and research. The team’s efforts are evident in the more than 26,700 operative cases performed, more than 1,200 trauma admissions and 144,800 outpatient clinic visits in 2015.

For more information about Texas Children’s Department of Surgery, visit texaschildrens.org/surgery.
For more information about the Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center verification, visit the ACS website.

May 3, 2016

5416MothersDay640Because of the outstanding quality of care provided at Texas Children’s, there are endless stories about how our faculty, staff and employees have changed people’s lives. These stories remind us and others how big of an impact we can make and how humbling our jobs often can be. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are two stories about Texas Children’s patients whose lives were changed by our Heart Center and Transplant Services teams.

Grandmother, mom, daughter share bond through congenital heart disease diagnoses

To say Sherry Brown, her daughter, Tracy Moore, and granddaughter, Kennedie, have a special relationship would be an understatement. Other than the quintessential bond which has grown throughout the lineage’s time together, they also share congenital heart disease diagnoses.

When Tracy was born, doctors discovered she suffered from an atrial septal defect (ASD), a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart. The Palestine, Texas native and her family traveled to Houston for expert pediatric heart care at Texas Children’s Hospital. Tracy was monitored growing up and underwent surgery to repair the congenital heart defect when she was 17-years-old.

The family’s experience with congenital heart disease deepened when Tracy’s daughter, Kennedie, was diagnosed with an ASD and valve issue when she was 4-months-old. As soon as Tracy left Kennedie’s local doctor’s office, she knew there was only one heart center team equipped to care for her daughter. It was the same expert team her mom had entrusted to take care of her when she was a little girl – the cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists at Texas Children’s.

“It’s the only place to be treated,” Tracy said. “When you’re at Texas Children’s, you not only feel grateful for the care you’re receiving, but you also feel grateful for what you have when you see what other families are going through.”

Kennedie, now 10-years-old, has undergone three surgeries with cardiovascular surgeons Dr. Dean McKenzie and Dr. Jeffrey Heinle, and is closely monitored by a pediatric cardiologist as she matures. During each of Kennedie’s surgeries, Sherry supported Tracy in a way no one else could. Ironically, Sherry was also diagnosed with congenital heart disease, but not until she was 53-years-old. In 2003, she too underwent surgery with Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr., surgeon-in-chief and chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children’s, and had a second valve repair just last year.

Though grown adults, Sherry and Tracy continue to be cared for by doctors at Texas Children’s. Dr. Wayne Franklin, director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Texas Children’s, and his team see more than 1,800 adults like Sherry and Tracy in clinic each year. The expert team is trained in both pediatric and adult heart disease, ensuring the continuum of care from childhood through adulthood is maintained. Franklin advises patients on health and lifestyle choices for their adult needs, including physical challenges, exercise options and family planning.

Sherry cherishes the relationship she has with her daughter and granddaughter. “God has blessed me,” Sherry said. “To be able to go through something like this with my daughter as she’s having her child who also has heart disease creates one big, special bond.”

Mother donates kidney to son, gives him second chance at life

When Mary Churchman was pregnant with her son, Kyle, he was diagnosed with a posterior urethral valve. Due to the condition, he had extra flaps of tissue that grew in his urethra, causing a blockage of the normal flow of urine and damage to one of his kidneys. Doctors in New Orleans told the Churchmans Kyle wasn’t going to live an hour and if he did, he would likely need a kidney transplant by age two or three. He defied those odds.

The family moved from New Orleans to Lake Charles, La. shortly before Hurricane Katrina hit. Following the devastating storm, Kyle’s doctors scattered leaving the family in search of an expert team to care for their young son. The Churchmans discovered Texas Children’s Hospital, and Kyle has been followed by the hospital’s kidney transplant team ever since. Recently, it was determined the now 13-year-old was finally in need of a transplant.

Kyle’s dad was tested first and was a match, but due to his anatomy, wasn’t an ideal candidate for transplant. Once Mary went through the screening process and it was determined she was a match, surgery was scheduled. The Churchmans were both excited and nervous. On Feb. 4, 2016, Dr. Christine O’Mahony, surgical director of kidney transplantation at Texas Children’s, harvested Mary’s kidney and transplanted it into Kyle. Following a two-month stay in Houston for their recovery, Kyle and Mary joined the rest of the family back home in Lake Charles.

Kyle is now thriving and didn’t even realize how bad he felt prior to transplant. The family is so thankful to the team at Texas Children’s for helping Mary give her son the gift of life.

“To be able to give him this gift is amazing and a true honor, especially as his mom,” Mary said. “When I delivered him, we didn’t even know if he was going to make it and now he has another chance at life. It’s a blessing.”

April 19, 2016

Two decades after Texas Children’s Hospital opened its doors in 1954, the hospital’s medical staff was called on to care for one of the most famous patients in the world – David Vetter, better known as “the bubble boy.”

David’s life, Texas Children’s involvement in his care and the advancements that have been made in the field of immunology, allergy and rheumatology were the topic of two recent Forums Luncheons hosted by our Office of Development to help engage current and potential donors in our mission.

At the River Oaks event and the one held in The Woodlands, former members of David’s care team and members of David’s family described the little boy’s historic journey, which began on September 21, 1971, at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“David was born with severe combined immunodeficience or SCID,” said Dr. William Shearer, the former section chief of Allergy and Immunology. “The hereditary disease, which dramatically weakens the immune system, forced David to live in a clear sterile chamber that resembled a bubble.”

Shearer and other members of Texas Children’s medical staff, including Dr. Imelda Hanson, a physician in Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, cared for David until he died of Burkitt’s lymphoma on February 22, 1984, four months after receiving a bone marrow transfusion from his sister. It was later discovered that her marrow contained traces of a dormant virus – Epstein-Barr – which had been undetectable in the pre-transplant screening.

But, as former members of the boy’s medical staff explained, neither David’s life nor his death were in vain.

The dark-haired boy whose face covered magazines across the globe changed the face of immunology here at Texas Children’s and nationally, giving children born today with SCID a good chance at living a normal life. David, who would have been 40 this year, also paved the way for Texas Children’s Hospital to become an international referral center for families worldwide seeking hope and advanced, comprehensive diagnoses, treatment and care, said Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline.

“A few years after David’s passing in 1989, Texas Children’s Hospital was still primarily a regional hospital,” Kline said at the luncheons.” Today, we treat patients from all 50 states and about 60 countries. In fact, we are now an international referral center for some of the world’s most complex cases.”

Many of those cases are children with SCID and almost all benefit from the great strides in SCID research Shearer and Hanson have made after David’s death.

Shearer, for example, helped create the David Center at Texas Children’s Hospital. The center provides state-of-the art care and cutting-edge research for immune system diseases that make children susceptible to auto immunity and infectious diseases. Hanson works with federal and state health agencies to institute newborn screening options for children with SCID and other immune deficiency disorders in Texas and throughout the United States.

David Vetter’s mother, Carol Ann Demaret, said at the luncheons that she cannot express how much the care her son received at Texas Children’s Hospital means to her and her family.

“I am so grateful to Texas Children’s Hospital for giving my family 12 years with our son we never would have had otherwise,” she said. “I could work for the hospital for 100 years and still never repay them for that gift.”

April 12, 2016

41316FunRun640Texas Children’s employees and Houston-area residents came out in full force to participate in the 4th annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

On April 9, more than 4,000 people of all abilities, including those needing walkers and wheelchairs, participated in the non-competitive 1K and 3K courses. Following the race, participants enjoyed the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone, which was packed with snacks, entertainment and close to 40 attractions.

“We are excited to have this event at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus,” said West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón. “It’s a great way to show families that we are committed to the West Houston community.”

Executive Vice President John Nickens agreed and said the run’s stellar turnout is an example of the community’s support of Texas Children’s.

“Four thousand runners is amazing,” he said. “It’s definitely something to be proud of.”

Get a first-hand look at the fun by:

  • Flipping through a photo gallery of the event below.
  • Ordering your race-day photos from Spring Action. You can search by your bib number or last name to find your photos (if any exist). There also are hundreds of unidentified photos to sort through in the Lost & Found section. You can also browse the entire event, if desired.
  • Taking a look at our Facebook photo album from Saturday by.
  • Watching a video of the run.

41316malaria640The Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) and Texas Children’s Global Health have been helping meet the health care needs of mothers and babies across the globe for years. With global health programs and projects in more than 20 countries, BIPAI and Texas Children’s Global Health have developed a network of partners who are sometimes called on to respond to emergency situations. For these scenarios, we often turn to Medical Bridges, a Houston-based non-profit that provides medical supplies and equipment to support our work.

Recently, BIPAI and Texas Children’s Global Health addressed pediatric emergencies in Papua New Guinea and during the Ebola crisis, in Liberia, with the help of Medical Bridges. Presently, there is an outbreak of malaria among pediatric patients in Luanda, Angola.

To address this health emergency, BIPAI, Texas Children’s Global Health and Texas Children’s Pediatric Hematology & Oncology program have partnered with Medical Bridges, Chevron and SonAir, an Angolan national air services company, to provide drugs, supplies and equipment to the Hospital Pediatrico David Bernardino (Bernadino Pediatric Hospital) in Luanda and to the hospital in Cacuaco. These much-needed drugs and supplies will help the staff at the hospitals address the recent outbreak of malaria among the pediatric population.

“BIPAI and Texas Children’s Global Health are fortunate to have partners like Chevron and Medical Bridges that can mobilize and respond proactively to public health emergencies around the world,” said Michael Mizwa, leader of BIPAI and Texas Children’s Global Health.

Ali Moshiri, president of Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company, said the company is proud to be able to help mitigate public health situations such as these.

“We value our partnership with BIPAI and Texas Children’s Global Health,” Moshiri said. “This contribution underscores Chevron’s long-standing commitment to fight malaria and to the children of Angola who are most at risk for the disease”

The Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) and Texas Children’s Global Pediatric Hematology & Oncology program started an Angola Sickle Cell Initiative (ASCI) in 2011 with generous support from Chevron, aimed at bringing neonatal Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) screening and care to two regions in Angola: Luanda and Cabinda. To date, 135,000 babies have been screened and, in 2015, with a donation from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), the first organized Hydroxyurea (HU) treatment program for Angola was begun.

April 8, 2016

4716Malawi550

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $69.8 million grant to the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation–Malawi (Baylor–Malawi), an affiliate of the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital, to support and expand HIV/AIDS programs in Southern Africa. The grant, through the USAID Regional HIV-AIDS Program, will fund a dynamic and innovative project called Technical Support to PEPFAR Programs in the Southern Africa Region, or TSP. Designed by the Baylor-Malawi team, TSP is a collaborative program that includes ICAP at Columbia University and Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundations in Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Angola.

“While Southern Africa remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, recent progress toward global elimination goals provides an impetus for coordinated, regional efforts,” said Dr. Saeed Ahmed, assistant professor of pediatrics with BIPAI who will lead TSP. “The program will address challenges related to HIV care and treatment, including pediatric and adolescent care, HIV prevention from mother to child and the unique gender aspects of the epidemic, providing a common regional platform for dissemination and rapid adoption of best practices.”

In support of the primary goal to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, TSP objectives are to:
Improve clinical and other technical outcomes of partner programs in the region by providing mission programs with technical support and short- and medium-term program assistance and capacity building toward sustainability;

Improve and rapidly expand pediatric and adolescent treatment services in the region by providing technical assistance in the short and medium term and longterm program support;

Implement PEPFAR programs directly, in close cooperation with USAID.

The TSP will provide a wealth of technical expertise, Ahmed said, including human resource capacity, physical infrastructure, existing networking and program implementation experience, bringing together formally the unique and complementary strengths of the Baylor network and ICAP at Columbia University. The Baylor foundations are the leading providers of pediatric and adolescent HIV care and treatment in their respective countries with Centers of Excellence anchoring broad networks of satellite clinics. ICAP, the second-largest PEPFAR implementing program, offers incredible geographic scope and technical, programmatic and monitoring and evaluation expertise. Combined, the Baylor network and ICAP have managed more than $1 billion in funding over the past 5 years, and are implementing more than 50 U.S. Government supported initiatives.

To provide assistance to regional HIV/AIDS programs, Baylor-Malawi and its partners have organized a ‘Dream Team’ of experts who will provide the technical advising backbone of the program. Through its implementing partners, the Dream Team will have access to an extensive network of more than 1,500 people, including doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, community health workers and volunteers, and pharmacists to provideHIV/AIDS program assistance and implementation.

“The high-quality assistance and program implementation provided by this project will strengthen the efforts in the region to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 benchmarks, which call for 90 percent of HIV-infected individuals to know their status; 90 percent of patients who know their status to be started on and adherent to anti-retroviral therapy; and 90 percent of patients on ART to be viral suppressed by 2020” said Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief, Texas Children’s Hospital and chairman of the department of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine.

Women and children are a special focus on the TSP program. It aims to achieve elimination of mother-to-child transmission, doubling of the number of children on anti-retroviral therapy and, through the DREAMS Initiative, assisting partners in developing interventions to address gender-based violence and reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women. DREAMS, or Determined, Resilient, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe Women, is a PEPFAR program to reduce HIV infections among girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This award is a true testament to the BIPAI Network’s ability and capacity as a global leader in pediatric HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Baylor–Malawi continues to excel in innovative program development,” said Michael Mizwa, chairman, Baylor–Malawi Board of Directors, chief operating office/senior vice president of BIPAI and director of global health at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“With the resources from this award, I am pleased that Baylor Malawi will lead a consortium that leverages the extensive expertise that is in the BIPAI network with its partners ICAP and regional ministries of health to accelerate the region’s advances to the 90-90-90 targets,” said Dr. Peter Kazembe, executive director of Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation–Malawi.