‘Exceptional’ staff puts hospital ahead of the rest

Related stories:

The Fate of Destiny: A child’s battle with cancer

Families often have to make decisions about their children, but not all face the challenge of choosing a hospital when their child is diagnosed with cancer.

Many options exist, yet there is something about Kentucky Children’s Hospital that draws families in, said Dr. Jeffrey Moscow, who works often with pediatric cancer patients and their families as vice chair and professor of pediatrics in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

“We have exceptional people, from our receptionists to the pharmacists to the nurses,” he said. “All these people feel it is their calling and families feel that.”

Around 4,400 children were admitted to Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Department last year, with 380 of those being in-patient admissions, according to hospital data.

Dr. Tim Bricker, the hospital’s chair of pediatrics, said although pediatric cancers are relatively rare, Kentucky Children’s Hospital has a high number of pediatric oncology patients compared to other hospitals across the country.

“We have a higher children’s oncology enrollment than Duke, Yale or John Hopkins,” Bricker said.

Bricker also said he attributes the high enrollment to the warm atmosphere the staff creates for families and children.

“We have an oncology team that not only cares for children so well but one that cares very much,” he said. “In terms of the people that work here, I think that’s one of our major strengths.”

The doctors at Kentucky Children’s Hospital are always trying to improve cancer therapies and find better ways to treat the disease, Moscow said.

“All who work with children with cancer, none of us are ever satisfied with the treatment we have,” he said.

Moscow is working on a national clinical trial for a particular type of leukemia. Research like this is a way Kentucky Children’s Hospital constantly tries to improve life for pediatric cancer patients, he said.

“Now we can push forward,” he said.

Along with pediatric hematology-oncology advances, the hospital is pushing for other progress in pediatrics.

This summer UK Hospital opened a pediatric emergency center, with rooms designed specifically for children. The Kentucky Children’s Heart Center was also established recently, providing services to children with heart disease.

From receptionists to social workers, Dr. Bricker said the efforts to improve pediatrics at the hospital reflect the common goal among all its employees.

“Everybody is working toward healthier children in Kentucky,” he said.