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MUSC Children's Hospital ranks in unprecedented six categories

Staff Report | | June 21, 2016

Dr. Hudspeth & patient
Brennan Wesley
Dr. Michelle Hudspeth holds Mack Shieder back when he was undergoing a bone marrow transplant in 2014. Mack, the son of MUSC Children's Hospital nurse Laura Shieder, is now 8 years old, and Hudspeth says, "He's doing great."

MUSC Children’s Hospital scored high new rankings in a national publication, and doctors say the real benefit will be to the children treated there.

Dr. Mark Scheurer 
Dr. Mark Scheurer, chief medical officer of MUSC Children's Hospital 

Mark Scheurer, M.D., chief medical officer of MUSC Children’s Hospital, said a dedicated Children’s Hospital is a special place.

Through clinical care, scientific breakthrough and education of future pediatric providers, a children’s hospital's mission every day is to protect, heal and advocate for a community's most precious resource: its children. MUSC Children’s is committed to the children of our local community, the state and region that we serve. We share this mission in collaboration with our pediatric partners across the state.

Scheurer said these new rankings in an unprecedented six categories reflect real improvements in patient care and outcomes and a commitment of the medical center to best practices.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals place the MUSC Children’s Hospital heart program among the top 20 in the country, naming it a “best hospital” in that category. Here’s a look at all six of the MUSC Children’s Hospital divisions honored in the new rankings, based on information from about 180 pediatric centers across the country:

  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#20)
  • Nephrology (#22)
  • Urology (#29)
  • Cancer (#37)
  • Pediatrics: Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (#39)
  • Pediatrics: Diabetes & Endocrinology (#47)

The rankings take into account clinical and operational data, results from a reputational survey of board-certified pediatric specialists and supplemental information from resources such as the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Andrew Atz 
Dr. Andrew Atz 

Scheurer said the U.S. News & World Report rankings come as the hospital prepares for an important move in 2019. That’s when the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital is scheduled to open.

“We are working hard now to grow dedicated pediatric programs that will use this wonderful new building in the future and best serve our community now,” Scheurer said. “The U.S. News & World Report awards are a fitting testimony to the ongoing efforts at MUSC to further develop programs to serve children and families across the state and region.”

Andrew Atz, M.D., directs the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at MUSC Children’s Hospital. He said his team is honored by its No. 20 ranking but not content to rest on its laurels. “Our group philosophy is for physicians and staff not to think about how well we do things now, but how we can do them better in the future.”

Dr. Katherine Twombley 
Dr. Katherine Twombley 

Atz said his division excels, in part, by using advanced imaging and interventional techniques to optimize planning and treatment. They include 3-D echocardiograms, cardiac computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diagnostic catheterization. The team also specializes in non-surgical interventions, performing the latest minimally invasive catheter procedures.

Katherine Twombley, M.D., serves as chief of Pediatric Nephrology, a division that helps children who have kidney problems and ranked 22nd for its specialty. “This is a tremendous achievement,” she said. “As the largest pediatric nephrology program in the state, we provide the most comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for children with all types of renal disease.”

Twombley said over the past year, her team has expanded and enhanced the state’s only dedicated multidisciplinary pediatric kidney transplant program and established an independent continuous renal replacement therapy program.

Andrew Stec, M.D., who directs Pediatric Urology at MUSC Children’s Hospital, said his team is honored by its No. 29 ranking. “Through our commitment to using clinical and research resources solely on patient care, we have created a wonderful environment for our patients where they and their families receive world class pediatric urology care.”

Dr. Andrew Stec 
Dr. Andrew Stec 

Stec said his team has created state-of-the-art programs. “They span pediatric urology, including prenatal care; multidisciplinary spina bifida clinics; kidney stone treatment; bladder exstrophy and reconstructive urology; and a robotic, minimally invasive surgical team.”

Michelle Hudspeth, M.D., directs the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. For her, the No. 37 ranking in the pediatric cancer division is a sign of her team’s dedication to providing cutting-edge treatments and hope for children with cancer. “We are driven and diligent in finding new and creative options for treatment.”

Her division’s doctors, nurses and other care providers are involved in innovative clinical trials, offering personalized medicine approaches and access to novel agents to prevent relapse.

Antonio Quiros, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at MUSC Children’s Hospital, said his team, which came in at No. 39, never stops trying to reach children in need, seeing patients both in Charleston and in outreach clinics in Summerville, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant; providing telehealth consultations for patients in Beaufort, Conway and Waccamaw; and creating new programs, including a Comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis Clinic.

Dr. Antonio Quiros 
Dr. Antonio Quiros 

“Every effort has been made to try to allocate resources to meet the needs of our most fragile and needy patients,” Quiros said.

Deborah Bowlby, M.D., directs the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at MUSC Children’s Hospital and was pleased by her program’s top 50 ranking. She, too, emphasized improving children’s lives. “Our team has put patients first by creating a Family Advisory Council to engage our families to improve the quality of living with a chronic illness,” Bowlby said.

She also cited support groups for patients with diabetes, Turner syndrome and gender dysphoria.

Dr. Deborah Bowlby 
Dr. Deborah Bowlby 

Bowlby said her team works hard to improve patients’ access to clinics and holds a Technology Day to educate parents and other caregivers about new diabetes technologies.

Scheurer said the architectural plans for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital are now complete and the grounds where it will sit are being prepared for its construction. Many of the same pediatric teams recognized by the rankings are ones who actively participated in the design of the future hospital.

“It’s an exciting time now at MUSC Children’s, and an honor to work with such dedicated teams.“


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