Mercy Honors Long History of Caring for Kids with “Day of the Child”

April 30, 2012

Dr. Nan Nuessle, pediatrician, examines

Deacon Jones in her office in the

Mercy Clinic Primary Care at 800 W. Laurel.

“Caring for children is much different from caring for adults, which is why we have specialized services. We provide exceptional care for common illnesses to rare childhood diseases, and Mercy does it in the most comforting, compassionate way,” said Dr. Joseph Kahn, president of Mercy Children’s Hospital services. “May 1 is Mercy’s Day of the Child. On this day – all across Mercy – we celebrate our children, honor those who care for them and renew our commitment to their health. We also thank our communities for their support and the privilege of caring for their children.”
Mercy Hospital Independence will celebrate with special giveaways for kids served on Tuesday at any of its service locations, including Mercy Clinic Primary Care, Cherryvale Clinic, ER, outpatient lab, inpatient unit, Mercy Pharmacy, Mercy Health for Life and others. In addition, Rickenia Botts, Health for Life manager, will travel to Eisenhower Elementary School on this day to teach “Zumbatomic,” a high-energy fitness class for kids, to students in their physical education classes.
Mercy has been taking care of kids since 1827. Mercy’s founder, Catherine McAuley, began her healing ministry by serving the sick and poor children and women in Dublin, Ireland. McAuley couldn’t have imagined how highly specialized Mercy would become in caring for children.
In Independence, Mercy’s pediatric services range from primary care provided in the clinic setting by pediatricians James Hignight, MD, and Nan Nuessle, MD, to outpatient physical therapy services to care in the Cancer Center and the hospital’s weekly immunization clinic.
A new outreach initiative this year is sponsorship of the HealthTeacher online education curriculum, which is provided at no cost by Mercy to all area school districts. The health education curriculum is available to teachers of all subjects for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Mercy’s reach currently includes 40 area schools in 12 districts who are participating in HealthTeacher. These include Independence, Parsons, Coffeyville, Caney, Cherryvale, Fredonia, Neodesha, Chetopa, Elk Valley, Chautauqua County, Oswego and Holy Name Catholic School in Coffeyville.
“The Sisters of Mercy, from the beginning established the significance of providing care to our youngest, most vulnerable patients,” noted Eric Ammons, president/CEO of Mercy Hospital Independence. “And they approached as a sacred duty. Today, it is our sincere privilege to care for kiddos of all walks of life in all areas of our ministry and to help foster their appreciation for health and wellness.”
Other examples from across the Mercy ministry include:

Telemedicine for kids

Using telemedicine, Mercy is making it possible for families in rural areas to stay close to home and still have access to a pediatric specialist. About six months ago, Loren Kelly, 2, traveled from Springfield to St. Louis where she was diagnosed with myoclonic absence epilepsy and prescribed medication for seizures. Now in need of a follow-up visit, she will again see Dr. John Mantovani, a pediatric neurologist based at Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. This time though, she and her parents won’t have to make the drive from their home in Springfield. Instead, they will be in an exam room at Mercy Hospital Springfield.
“I decided to use this service because it saved me from having to take a day off work to make the drive to St. Louis,” said Loren’s mom, Vanessa. “This service also saves me around seven hours of time spent driving with a 2-year-old for a 20-minute doctor’s visit, not to mention saving money on gas.”
With more than 30 Mercy hospitals across four states, half of which are in rural communities, Mercy’s telemedicine program gives patients access to highly specialized medical care otherwise unavailable in their towns. “There’s a great need and it’s in Mercy’s mission to extend this state-of-the-art technology to our smaller, rural communities,” said Dr. Tim Smith, vice president of research for Mercy’s Center for Innovative Care.

Researching better ways to care for babies

In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Mercy in Oklahoma City, Mercy is conducting first-time research with a “vein viewer” to start IVs more easily in tiny newborns and save them from the discomfort of multiple needle sticks.
“Babies in the NICU have arms and hands smaller than their parents’ fingers and that makes it extremely difficult to find a vein,” said Michele McEver, NICU nursing manager. “With this technology, we save our babies from unneeded pain.”
To reduce needle sticks, Mercy uses a vein viewer, a light that improves external visibility. Mercy’s research will provide needed proof that vein viewers can dramatically decrease needle sticks for the tiniest patients.

A new children’s hospital

A renovation and redesign of

Mercy Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Mo.,

is one example of Mercy’s long history of

caring for children.

Ribbon Courtyard

An inside peek at what

Mercy Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Mo.,

will look like after a major

renovation and redesign.

In Springfield, a renovation and redesign of Mercy Children’s Hospital will add new services quickly in phases, to an already wide range of care. The hospital will break ground on May 1 to coincide with Day of the Child. The Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, advanced pediatric trauma center and dedicated burn unit will be joined by a 10-bedroom Ronald McDonald House for visiting families. This convenient center for pediatric care is designed for future growth and new technologies.
“This facility will provide beautiful new space for our children’s hospital programs and will give us capacity to grow,” said Dr. Elizabeth Andrews, Mercy Clinic pediatrician and co-chair of pediatrics. “Mercy Children’s Hospital Springfield has been the pioneer of critical care, oncology, surgery, neurosurgery, endocrinology and ophthalmology for pediatric patients in this region, and we look forward to offering our line of subspecialties in this great space that kids will love.”
For the youngest cancer patients, a newly redesigned cancer treatment center is being constructed. Parents of these patients were asked to offer feedback and suggestions about the best environment for their children’s treatments.
“By listening to our patients and those taking care of them, we were able to modify the design of the Springfield cancer center,” said Cindy Beckham, who oversees facility design for Mercy. “We’ve built in choice for these kids – choice in where they sit, what they do during treatment and in how much they want to interact that day.”
Day of the Child will be celebrated locally across communities Mercy serves in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

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