March 8, 2016

In just five short years, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has gone from being a brand new suburban hospital to a staple in the West Houston community. The services patients and their families previously drove to the Medical Center for are now at a convenient and accessible location near their own backyards.

Designed exclusively for children, West Campus boasts a highly trained pediatric team that engaged in more than 300,000 patient encounters last year through services in outpatient care, inpatient care, surgery and the emergency center. The number of patient encounters has tripled since West Campus opened its doors in April 2011 and totals 750,000 for the past five years.

During the first year West Campus was open, almost 2,000 surgical procedures and close to 16,000 radiology procedures were performed. Last year, nearly 6,000 surgical procedures and more than 49,000 radiology procedures were conducted at West Campus. That’s an increase of more than 200 percent.
Daily inpatient census at West Campus has skyrocketed too, going from seven during the hospital’s first year to 32 last year, an increase of almost 360 percent.

“West Campus has had unbelievable growth over the past several years,” said West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón. “We will continue to build on those successes, listen to the community and provide the services they need.”

Some major milestones for West Campus include:

  • Recognition for the past three years as a Top Children’s Hospital by the Leapfrog Group, an organization that provides the only national, public comparison of hospitals across safety, quality and efficiency dimensions. West Campus is among an elite group of only 12 children’s hospitals and is the only children’s hospital in Houston to be recognized with this prestigious distinction.
  • Activation of the system’s first helipad, which has been used frequently and allows for faster transport and subsequently quicker treatment.
  • Expansion of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit from eight beds to 16 beds, allowing the unit to see more than 2,000 patients in just five months.
  • Construction of a $16 million, 18-bed expansion of the hospital’s acute care capacity. The new unit includes an eight-bed special isolation unit designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, entervirus D68, Ebola and many others. As a result of Texas Children’s preparation in the area of infectious disease, the medical system was designated by the State of Texas as a pediatric Ebola treatment center, which means if and when a pediatric patient with Ebola symptoms arrives in Texas, they will come to West Campus for treatment.

“The Texas designation as the pediatric treatment site for Ebola is an impressive accomplishment for the West Houston market,” Chacón said. “It really allows us to grow our specialization of care in the community.”

To remain one of the most active pediatric hospitals in the Houston community, West Campus is focusing on expanding inpatient capacity, ambulatory capacity and supporting hospital infrastructure. Last year, the Texas Children’s Board of Directors approved a $50 million capital improvement effort that will help expand the hospital’s acute care capacity and is allowing the hospital to move forward with the following projects over the next few years:

  • Create dedicated suite for Interventional Radiology services
  • Expand perioperative services to include increased pre-operative and post-operative areas as well as operative suites
  • Convert offices within existing clinics into additional clinic exam space to increase access to highly sought after subspecialty care in west Houston
  • Build office and administrative support space for dedicated physicians and providers
  • Expand inpatient acute care capacity by 42 beds to include the 18-bed special isolation unit as well as another 24-bed unit in existing shell space
  • Construct additional outpatient subspecialty clinic space to increase access to our growing patient demand

“The expansion we are seeing on our campus is amazing but what really differentiates us is the people who come here every day to serve the patients who seek our care,” Chacón said. “They go above and beyond because they are passionate about making memories for our patients and families.”

March 1, 2016

3216siu640Leaders with the Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit recently hosted the first of what they plan to be regular educational conferences focusing on our advanced concepts of pediatric biocontainment.

Representatives from four children’s hospitals – the Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Colorado and the University of Texas-Houston – attended the two-day conference held February 25-26 at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Topics covered during the conference included staffing and clinical care of infectious patients, personal protective equipment (PPE) and procedures, and special isolation unit planning, development, policies and procedures. Conference attendees also participated in a PPE demonstration and discussion, and were given a tour of our newly opened Special Isolation Unit at West Campus.

“The conference was a wonderful opportunity for Texas Children’s to share our knowledge and experience with leaders from multiple organizations,” said Dr. Amy Arrington, medical director of the Special Isolation Unit. “We hope to continue this process for years to come in an effort to ensure all children affected by special pathogens are safely cared for in their time of need.”

Texas Children’s began working on its Special Isolation Unit more than a year ago, shortly after an unprecedented Ebola outbreak that resulted in the realization that we must be prepared to handle emerging infections as an institution. As a result, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Texas Children’s Hospital as one of several pediatric Ebola treatment centers countrywide.

Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit is the only one of its kind in Texas and the southwest region, and is among the few in the United States designated just for children. Located on the fifth floor of West Campus, the eight-bed unit is fully equipped to care for any infant or child with a serious communicable disease and has all of the measures available to assure safety of the health care team, other patients and their families.

Children coming to the special isolation unit will receive top notch care from a team of highly-trained nurses and doctors, led by Arrington, associate medical directors Dr. Gordon Schutze and Dr. Judith Campbell, and nursing leader, Sondra Morris.

bench-and-beside-Header2 Bench and Bedside is a digest of the previous month’s stories about the clinical and academic activities of our physicians and scientists. We welcome your submissions and feedback.

February 2

Texas Children’s, Rice University team up to develop new way to repair birth defect

Bioengineers at Texas Children’s Hospital and Rice University have won a National Institutes of Health grant to develop a new generation of patches to repair the damaged hearts of infants. The $1.9 million, 5-year grant will allow Jeffrey Jacot and his team to take the next steps in a long-running drive to improve the survival rates of such infants, many of whom are diagnosed in utero and require surgery soon after birth.

February 2

Department of State Health Services to award Texas Children’s $1 million grant for SIU 3116SIUTraining300

Texas Children’s is set to receive a $1 million grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to put toward its newly constructed Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The funds, to be delivered during the next five years, will specifically go toward Ebola preparedness activities that bolster employee safety and quality of care.

February 2

Texas Children’s convenes task force, urges employees to educate themselves on Zika

3116zikamosquito300In light of the multiple confirmed cases of Zika infection in Texas due to foreign travel, Texas Children’s leaders encourage employees, particularly pregnant women, to refrain from traveling to areas where the outbreak is growing and to follow precautionary measures to protect themselves from Zika exposure. Since the mosquito-carrying virus has been known to increase the risk of microcephaly, a neurological fetal birth defect, Texas Children’s recently convened a task force to develop management and research strategies based on screening criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control for pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus.

February 2 Kline: Children deserve access to best care

Many patients have been left scrambling to find a new medical home when a number of insurance companies decided not to provide in-network coverage for many hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, including Texas Children’s Hospital. Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline talks about how all children deserve access to the best care.

February 2

Zoghbi to receive medal for pioneering advancements in neuroscience research

3116zoghbilab300Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s, will receive the 2016 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal from the National Academy of Science in April for her achievements in neuroscience, which includes unlocking the genetic and molecular mysteries behind rare neurological disorders.

 

February 2

Clinical Research Center presents research award to Dr. Anvari

The Clinical Research Center will present the Clinical Research Award for First Quarter 2016 to Dr. Sara Anvari, physician, Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Anvari is a dedicated clinical scientist for the food allergy research trials at Texas Children’s Hospital.

February 9

Three NRI researchers recognized for their contributions to neuroscience research

Drs. Michael Wangler and Shinya Yamamoto recently obtained a research grant from the Simon’s Foundation for Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) to advance their study on autism spectrum disorders. Their study titled, “In vivo functional analysis of autism candidate genes” is one of five projects selected for research funding by the SFARI. Dr. Andrea Ballabio, founder and director of the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM), Italy, professor at Baylor and faculty member at the NRI, has been selected to receive the 2016 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine. He will share this award with biochemist John Diffley, associate research director at the Francis Crick Institute, United Kingdom.

February 16

Study finds premature infants benefit from exclusive human milk-based diet

3116NEC300A recent Baylor College of Medicine study led by Texas Children’s neonatologist Dr. Amy Hair, and published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, found that premature infants weighing less than 1,250 grams at birth showed improved outcomes after being fed a human milk-based diet.

 

 

 

February 16

Mata twins celebrate one-year anniversary after historic separation 3116MataFamily300

A year after being separated in a marathon surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, formerly conjoined twins Knatalye and Adeline Mata are healthy, lively toddlers. Several members of our medical staff involved in the girls’ care got to see how much they have grown and how far they have come during a recent visit to Texas Children’s for their follow-up appointments with pediatric subspecialists monitoring their health and development. Hear some of their reactions and see for yourself how much the girls have progressed.

February 16

Heart Center launches series of educational animated videos 3116animation300

Featuring an armadillo, a bison and robot-like caregivers called Blings, a series of animated videos created by Texas Children’s Heart Center aims to help educate patients and their families about various heart conditions and treatment options. Six of the videos were unveiled at a February 15 red carpet premier and can be accessed on the Texas Children’s website at http://www.texaschildrens.org/hearteducation.

February 23

CVICU physician performs CPR, saves man’s life during spin class

When Dr. Natasha Afonso clipped in to a bike for a spin class on a recent Thursday evening, she didn’t know the skills she uses each day to treat patients in the CVICU would mean the difference between life and death for a fellow rider. Toward the end of the 45-minute, high-intensity class, Afonso heard 50-year-old Scott Corron collapse and fall off his bicycle. Because he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, Afonso immediately started CPR, an action that ultimately saved Corron’s life.

February 23

New in situ simulation program enhances role clarity in high-risk emergencies 3116sitasim300

Texas Children’s Simulation Center recently launched the first-ever Neonatal Comprehensive In Situ Simulation Program for NICU providers at the Pavilion for Women. The program focuses on improving crisis resource management skills, one of which is role clarity, to ensure all code team members know each other’s specific roles when delivering care to patients during high-risk medical emergencies.

February 23

Texas Children’s helps develop nation’s first hospital-based rapid test for the Zika virus

3116zikalab300Pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists at Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital developed the nation’s first hospital-based rapid test for the Zika virus in a matter of weeks as part of the L.E. and Virginia Simmons Collaborative in Virus Detection and Surveillance. Pathologist-in-Chief Dr. James Versalovic and Dr. James Dunn, director of medical microbiology and virology, led Texas Children’s Zika test development team. The new diagnostic test identifies virus-specific RNA sequences to detect the virus and can distinguish Zika virus from other virus infections like Dengue, West Nile or Chikunguny.

February 23

Blaney receives Pioneer Award for contributions in pediatric neuro-oncology The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation honored Dr. Susan Blaney with the Pioneer Award for Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, celebrating her 25 years of dedication to the search for new and better treatments for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. Blaney’s extensive experience in clinical translational research focuses on developing new treatment strategies for children with brain tumors and other refractory cancers. Blaney has been instrumental in developing more new agent clinical trials than anyone in the field of pediatric oncology.

February 23

Dietrich voted president-elect of North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Dr. Jennifer Dietrich has been voted president-elect of the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Her tenure as president-elect begins in April. She will be voted in as president in April 2017.

February 23

Texas Children’s Health Plan Center for Children and Women earns accolades for CenteringPregnancy® program Texas Children’s Health Plan’s Center for Children and Women has earned site approval for its CenteringPregnancy® program. The Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI) has awarded both the Southwest and Greenspoint locations the official designation for closely following the CenteringPregnancy® model.

February 16, 2016

21716WCtwitter640Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus is on Twitter @TexasChildrensWest. Follow them today to connect with the West Campus community and to receive the latest news and updates about greater Houston’s first suburban hospital designed exclusively for children.

For more information about West Campus, go to http://www.texaschildrens.org/departments/texas-childrens-hospital-west-campus.

February 2, 2016

2316SIUgrant640

Texas Children’s is set to receive a $1 million grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to put toward its newly constructed Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The funds, to be delivered during the next five years, will specifically go toward Ebola preparedness activities that bolster employee safety and quality of care.

Texas Children’s began ramping up its Ebola preparedness and decided to build a special isolation unit almost a year ago, shortly after an unprecedented outbreak of the disease resulted in the realization that we must be prepared to handle emerging infections as an institution. As a result, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Texas Children’s Hospital as one of several pediatric Ebola treatment centers countrywide.

Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit is the only one of its kind in Texas and the southwest region, and is among the few in the United States designated just for children. Located on the fifth floor of West Campus, the eight-bed unit is fully equipped to care for any infant or child with a serious communicable disease and has all of the measures available to assure safety of the health care team, other patients and their families.

As a condition of the DSHS grant, members of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) – created to ensure health care providers and facilities are prepared to safely identify, isolate, transport and treat patients with Ebola and other emerging threats. – recently visited the Special Isolation Unit. During NETEC’s two-day trip, members of the newly formed federal entity toured the Special Isolation Unit and spoke with leaders in detail about the formation of the unit, its capabilities and its potential usages.

“We were glad to have subject matter expertise tour our facility and provide knowledge and insight that will help us improve patient and staff satisfaction,” said Special Isolation Unit Medical Director Dr. Gordon Schutze. “They were very complimentary of the unit and told us we were fortunate to have leadership that is very supportive of doing what is best for their employees and patients.”

Once received, a portion of the DSHS grant will be used to compensate Texas Children’s for the Ebola preparedness activities undertaken since July 2014. Unit and West Campus leaders are working together to identify the best use of the remaining funds and how they can be invested to better health care professional safety and quality of care.

January 26, 2016

12716FAMILYFUNRUNinside640Are you and your family ready to have some fun that will also help make you healthy? If so, sign up for the fourth annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run, an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area children and their families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Families with children of all abilities are invited to participate in the run at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 9 at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

The Family Fun Run will include both a 1K and 3K course. Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles. Following the run, families can enjoy the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone. The zone will be packed with snacks, special guests and more than 25 attractions.

Click here to register. Registration will close on Monday, March 28.

Additional information, including training guides, a video from last year’s event and volunteer opportunities can be found here.

Good luck and happy running!

January 5, 2016

1616playyard640Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus received a special gift this holiday season from a former patient whose family wanted to thank caregivers for helping their son recover from cancer.

David Lauritzen, now a healthy 5-year-old, came to Texas Children’s a very sick toddler. After being diagnosed with cancer, David was put on an aggressive treatment plan of radiation and chemotherapy, much of which he received at West Campus.

The treatment and the tender loving care he received from Texas Children’s medical staff paid off, sending him into remission about a year after being diagnosed. In appreciation for the staff’s hard work and expertise, the Lauritzen family recently donated a handmade toddler play yard to West Campus.

The red and white play yard was made by David’s great-grandfather, Ronald McKee, who dedicated the toy to his grandson and traveled from Missouri to install the piece of equipment in the Surgery Waiting Room at West Campus.

David’s mother, Samantha Lauritzen, said the play yard is a small token of her family’s appreciation to all Texas Children’s employees who came into contact with her family during her son’s 14-month treatment period.

“They made an extremely difficult situation easier on all of us,” she said of the staff “To me, they are amazing.”