Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Ranked Among Best Children’s Hospitals

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In spring 2011, for the first time, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital was named to the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals list.

In spring 2011, for the first time, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital was named to the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals list. Close on the heels of this prestigious distinction, in fall 2011, Le Bonheur was named a Level 1 Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). As the only pediatric center within 400 miles of Memphis, the designation makes Le Bonheur the first accredited pediatric ACS Level 1 Trauma Center in the region. The closest pediatric centers are in Lexington, Ky., and Dallas, Texas.

More than 80 percent of the physicians who practice at Le Bonheur have close affiliations with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). Most Le Bonheur physicians also serve as faculty who teach in UTHSC classrooms, as clinical care instructors who guide and supervise medical students, residents and fellows in the hospital, and as researchers who propel science forward through grants and sponsored projects funding.

On the U.S. News & World Report list four specialties within Le Bonheur were recognized for their excellence: neurology and neurosurgery; orthopaedics; nephrology; and cardiology and heart surgery. The rankings are available online at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

While Le Bonheur is already designated as a children’s trauma center on the state level in Tennessee and Arkansas, the ACS accreditation is a national designation that requires both high quality clinical care and research in the field of trauma with continued innovation. Le Bonheur pediatric surgeons, emergency physicians and nursing staff provide outreach and education to partner facilities throughout Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi as part of the designation.

As Le Bonheur continues to advance its position as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, it is more important than ever to understand the role that UTHSC, its academic partner, plays in the hospital’s success.

“A hospital with an academic affiliation provides the highest quality care and latest treatment for patients,” said Gary Shorb, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “Teaching hospitals offer a high level of care for individuals, constantly strive to adopt best practices, and work hard to stay on the forefront of research and teaching.”

Meri Armour, president of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, stated, “What really matters is that our patients are getting world-class care. The children we care for count on us to be the best. We take that responsibility very seriously.” She continued, “Our hospital’s longtime partnership with the UT Health Science Center is a major reason why we continue to bring the best and brightest physicians to care for sick children from this city, our region and throughout the U.S. We are happy to have this recognition and we gladly share it with UTHSC, which is an integral part of Le Bonheur’s many achievements. Together we will continue to provide excellent care for children for years to come.”

“In today’s rapidly changing health care environment, true partnerships are required to achieve and sustain success,” said David M. Stern, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, and vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “Both UTHSC and Le Bonheur are dedicated to the same long-term, strategic goals — to best serve the community and deepen our levels of expertise and areas of practice. We are pleased that the academic rigor, clinical care strength, and research acumen of our faculty have played a role in moving Le Bonheur to these levels of national recognition.”

Neurology and Neurosurgery

“Our neuroscience program has continued to grow steadily at 10 to 15 percent per year over the past 15 years. With the addition of Dr. Paul Klimo a year and a half ago, we now have one of the few pediatric stroke and vascular anomalies programs in the country. Our joint pediatric brain tumor program is internationally acclaimed as is our pediatric epilepsy program. Our joint pediatric spine program, involving Dr. Michael Muhlbauer and the pediatric spine team at Campbell Clinic performs cutting-edge procedures for congenital spine problems, spinal deformity and spine tumors, for which patients travel from around the country,” said Frederick A. Boop, MD, professor and J.T. Robertson Chairman in the Department of Neurosurgery at UTHSC.

“The Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has experienced tremendous growth in the last seven years, culminating in the recent Top 25 ranking by U.S. News & World Report. This is largely due to the top doctors we have recruited and the research they are doing. This has resulted in increased referral of subspecialty patients from across the country, especially in the brain tumor and epilepsy programs,” said James E. Wheless, MD, professor and chief of Pediatric Neurology at UTHSC.

Orthopaedics

“We are pleased to be recognized as a leading center in the U.S. for pediatric orthopaedic care. This recognition speaks highly of the quality of care provided by our orthopaedic program at the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic,” stated James Beaty, MD, professor of Surgery at UTHSC, and a Le Bonheur orthopaedic surgeon.

Nephrology

“The Nephrology Division manages all dialysis services for Le Bonheur and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2011 a state-of-the-art chronic dialysis facility was opened on the first floor of the Children’s Foundation Research Center, located at Le Bonheur. Other areas of expertise in nephrology are kidney transplantation, hypertension and glomerular disorders* such as IgA nephropathy and lupus nephritis,” said Robert J. Wyatt, MD, professor in the Pediatrics Department at UTHSC.

“In 2011, UTHSC pediatric nephrologist Russell Chesney, MD, received the John Howland Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pediatric Society. He is renowned for landmark studies on prevention of bone disease with active vitamin D in children with failing kidneys,” Dr. Wyatt observed.

“The UT Le Bonheur Nephrology Fellowship Program has trained several physicians who are current members of the division, as well as producing graduates who have moved on to become senior academic faculty members at major pediatric nephrology centers,” he said.

(* Glomerular disorders attack the glomeruli, the tiny units within the kidney where blood is cleaned.)

Cardiology and Heart Surgery

“The pediatric cardiac program at Le Bonheur is now a fully fledged program, which has been recognized as one of the top programs in the country. The volume of surgeries has increased from around 200 surgeries per year to more than 400 surgeries over the past two years. We currently do all types of complex repairs on patients as small as three pounds. This past year we have also initiated an Adults with Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Program and been accredited as a cardiac transplant program. Dedicated cardiologists and intensivists take care of the cardiac patients 24/7 after surgical procedures,” noted Christopher J. Knott-Craig, MD, FACS, professor of Surgery, and chief of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery.

“The Pediatric Heart Institute at Le Bonheur and UTHSC has developed into one of the major referral centers in the country. Full service care that is currently available includes prenatal cardiac evaluation and management; diagnosis, management and surgery or catheter-based intervention for infants, children and adults with congenital heart disease; and management and treatment of arrhythmias” stated Thomas Chin, professor and director, Pediatric Cardiology.

“The goal of the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings is to call attention to pediatric centers with the expertise to help the sickest kids, and Le Bonheur is one of those centers,” stated Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is known for cutting-edge programs in pediatric neuroscience, orthopaedics, critical care and cardiovascular services. Le Bonheur treats more than 200,000 children each year in a 255-bed hospital that features state-of-the-art technology and family-friendly resources. Serving as a primary teaching affiliate for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the hospital trains more pediatricians than any other hospital in the state. For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit www.lebonheur.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/lebonheurchild or friend us on Facebook at facebook.com/lebonheurchildrens.

As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. In 2011, UT Health Science Center celebrated its centennial: 100 years advancing the future of health care. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The UTHSC campus in Knoxville includes a College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and an Allied Health Sciences unit. In addition, the UTHSC Chattanooga campus includes a College of Medicine and an Allied Health Sciences unit. Since its founding in 1911, UTHSC has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals on campuses and in health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.