Each year, we have the privilege of celebrating the exceptional work of our clinicians and associates. In 2023, we highlighted company milestones, expert health advice, groundbreaking research initiatives and heartwarming patient success stories. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites, month by month. We hope you enjoy revisiting the stories that are near and dear to us.
Wishing you and yours a joyful holiday season!
Two new Pediatrix® Primary + Urgent Care of Texas clinics opened in Houston, marking the community’s ninth Pediatrix urgent care location (formerly NightLight) and the first with a completely reimagined patient experience. This re-engineered approach to pediatrics delivers an enhanced care continuum for babies and children in the Houston community. Channelview and Brookhollow are spacious, modern and family-friendly offices, providing a home-away-from-home experience for children’s unexpected health care needs.
Le’Lani Bryant was born 13 weeks early, weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces. She had a heart condition called dextro-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA), as well as a ventricular septal defect, giving her a bleak outcome. A multidisciplinary team, including cardiology and neonatology, collaborated to provide critical, lifesaving care. At just eight days old, Le’Lani successfully underwent open heart surgery. “We already have an excellent track record of that level of collaboration, which enabled us to immediately spring into action on this extremely unique, unprecedented case and give Le’Lani the best possible care and outcome,” said Hanoch Patt, M.D., MPH, pediatric cardiology specialty medical director and co-medical director at Pediatrix® Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology Associates of Texas. “Our wonderful nurse practitioners and nurses are so essential and such a central part of our teams at the bedsides of our most vulnerable patients every day and night, making sure they get the best possible care 24/7,” said John Loyd, M.D., MPH, neonatology specialty medical officer and neonatologist at Pediatrix® Neonatology of Texas.
Hospitalists provide highly specialized, immediate care to patients who face life-threatening situations. Pediatrix partners with hospitals nationwide for high-caliber hospitalist programs in obstetrics-gynecology (OBGYN) and pediatrics. “We are the ‘first responders’ to handle some of the most critical issues when time is not on the patient’s side,” said Brian Gilpin, M.D., specialty medical officer for OB hospital medicine. “Every second counts, and we are right there 24/7/365 to treat patients who are in crisis.” As is the case for obstetrics, pediatric patients also require specialized care. “Children are not little adults. Their pathophysiology and the illnesses that affect them are different than adults, so their care needs to be managed differently and appropriately for their size, age and various other considerations,” said Michelle Pastorello, M.D., specialty medical officer for pediatric hospital medicine.
Providing family-centered care requires communication and coordination among our staff, referring physicians, consulting specialists and other care providers. Patients will interact with various members of a practice when receiving care, from a medical assistant and nurse practitioner or physician assistant to the physician. Here, we looked at the patient journey for pregnant moms with complex fetal heart concerns. No matter the specialty, our compassionate, multidisciplinary teams work together to meet each patient’s unique needs.
Kolten Rathburn was born with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue that supports numerous body parts. He’s dealt with heart issues resulting from the condition since he was a baby and has been a lifelong patient at Pediatrix® Cardiology of San Antonio, who has managed his care from infancy to adulthood. “I have only positive things to say about all the doctors, nurses and staff I’ve interacted with here,” said Kolten. “Once you’re in, you’re in, and they treat you like family and truly care about your well-being. They continue managing my care as an adult. I am very comfortable with this because they know my history and know how to handle my health care needs.”
At two months old, Mikey Pizzo suddenly stopped breathing while in his baby carrier. Fortunately, he had access to the only pediatric intensive care unit in the community, where he received lifesaving care from Jesse Wyatt, M.D., pediatric intensivist and medical director, and the team at Pediatrix® Critical Care of California. “The thing that was really lifechanging was that Dr. Wyatt was able to simultaneously triage what to do to stabilize Mikey while immediately working on the next steps,” said dad Michael. While he suffers from cerebral palsy and other debilitating health issues, Mikey’s recovery has been remarkable so far. He recently turned 4 and started school. “It was an honor to care for Mikey, and I’m continuously amazed by his ongoing recovery,” said Dr. Wyatt.
Pediatric neurologist Karen Keough, M.D., and several of her colleagues at Pediatrix® Specialty Care of Austin regularly participate in medical missions to Kenya to deliver lifesaving neurological care to children in underserved areas. For more than 10 years, Dr. Keough and colleagues have worked collaboratively with the Austin, Texas-based non-profit Ubuntu Life Foundation to bring care to where it’s needed most. Through the foundation’s HEAL Kenya program, teams of volunteer clinicians staff quarterly medical clinics. “When these kids see a physician who understands their disease and knows which medications can help, it’s a whole different level of intervention,” said Dr. Keough. “The payoff is miraculous. It’s unbelievable what persistence can build. It’s really inspiring.”
Seamus Riggs was born with several birth defects — duodenal atresia, an intestinal obstruction; Tetralogy of Fallot with severe pulmonic valve stenosis, a heart defect; and a tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea. Early diagnosis and surgical intervention of the duodenal atresia and TEF were crucial to ensuring Seamus could successfully feed. At just one day old, James Davis, M.D., pediatric surgeon at Pediatrix® Surgical Associates, successfully repaired the anomalies. Seamus is growing well and meeting developmental milestones. “Dr. Davis’s attention to detail and his bedside manner was phenomenal,” said dad Joshua. “It was a really hard recovery and seeing Dr. Davis’s dedication to that was comforting to know that we had a great surgeon that was taking care of our kid.”
Elliott Vaughn was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1 pound, 12 ounces at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With underdeveloped lungs, she would endure a five-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), making an already frightening time that much more challenging for parents Rebecca and Phillip as the pandemic unfolded. “Both parents were such team players,” said Marta Papp, M.D., neonatologist at Pediatrix® Neonatology of Nashville Midtown. “They were just incredibly patient, gracious and very involved at the bedside all the time.” Looking back, Rebecca reflected on the impact it had on welcoming Elliott into the world. “That season of 2020 really overshadowed everything that happened with Elliott and her hospital stay,” she said. “She received world-class care, and that is a success story in and of itself, but the hospital really cared for our family and saw ways they could step in and help support us as the parents.” Today, Elliott is thriving. She recently turned three and has phased out of all her therapies.
Pediatrix has sponsored several research studies on strategies to improve outcomes in high-risk pregnancies. Research is vital in obstetrics because it drives advancements in maternal and fetal care, enhances medical knowledge and improves overall outcomes. Additionally, it helps identify best practices, refine medical procedures and develop new technologies to improve the health of both mothers and newborns. Andrew Combs, M.D., Ph.D., senior advisor for maternal-fetal medicine clinical quality, shared some of our studies on antenatal steroids, preventing preterm birth, cerclage, monoamniotic twins and vasa previa, all of which have had substantial impacts on the practice of obstetrics.
Preemies and babies born with serious medical conditions must work harder to learn certain skills. While babies discharged from the NICU probably won’t follow a traditional developmental timeline, they’ll likely meet expected milestones with extra support. Fae Dopwell, M.D., a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Pediatrix® Developmental Medicine of Dallas, weighed in on major milestones to monitor, how baby’s development is assessed after the NICU and what signs may signal a developmental delay. “Whether a baby has complex issues or just suspected delays, we’re looking to see if they’ve hit the major milestones,” explained Dr. Dopwell.
In many areas of the country, colder weather brings coughs, colds, slips and strains. Even if you live in a warm location, the gatherings associated with the winter holidays can increase your risk of getting sick. William Chu, M.D., pediatrician and medical director at Pediatrix® Primary + Urgent Care of Texas, shared some tips for staying heathy and safe this season. Vaccination is one of the simplest ways to prevent the flu, RSV and COVID-19. “It’s still early in the respiratory virus season, so it’s not too late to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Chu. “The flu vaccine is generally recommended for everyone 6 months of age or older unless they have an underlying condition that may prevent it. The RSV immunization is recommended for certain groups of infants and young children, so I recommend that parents talk to their child’s pediatricians to see if it’s appropriate.”
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