A Mother's Opinion
 
You may ask yourself why should I have my child treated at a children's hospital or you may have never even thought about your child ever needing a hospital. The latter describes me. It never occurred to me during my 9 months of pregnancy that I would need children's hospital of the kings daughters. However, the day that i delivered my daughter, marina, the hospital became an important part of our life. Marina was born with a cleft palate/lip and an ASD/VSD (two holes in her heart). Our first contact with CHKD came with the surgeons that would repair her cleft. The next would be with the cardiologists. The doctors although important do not really reflect the whole picture of what CHKD 18 all about. The whole picture is from the moment you enter the hospital. Your child becomes part of a large family that nurtures your child and helps you (the parents) cope with the experience of your child being in the hospital.

My daughter has had 6 procedures done at CHKD in the last 3 years. She has had two major surgeries (one at 36 hours (cleft repair) and the other at 6 months (heart repair)), she was hospitalized for 14 days with feeding problems when she was 7 weeks old and the others have seen minor outpatient procedures. I can not express enough how much it means when your child faces a major operation or even a minor one that every part of the hospital is designed for children. This includes both minor and major details. Your child who is waiting and depending on age apprehensive about the procedure they are about to have is surrounded by toys from the minute you enter the hospital. And as a parent who has experienced many surgeries this is very, very important. The staff that admits you is warm and helpful. You then meet the operating staff this is a pediatric staff and why wouldn't you want someone who is experienced with children taking care of your child. They talk and comfort both you and your child. The anesthesiologist is one who puts children to sleep every day not someone who goes back and forth between children and adults. The surgeons are pediatric based and have extensive experience with child surgeries. The nurses comfort and care for the children as if they were their own. This is a very special staff and they should be because they take care of very special people (our children).

Should you need to stay overnight with your child, you will also find that CHKD takes care of the whole family. There is a sleeping chair available for a parent. The rooms are large and contain a restroom with a shower so when you are staying close to your child you have some of the comforts of home. They also have toys that you may check out to help entertain your child. You have TV's in the room which helps you keep in touch with the world and also help your child who may be confined to a bed. There are hospital volunteers that are their in case you need to leave your child. There are family teas/soda/coffe meetings each week so you can talk to other families that may be going through some of the same things you are. They also have breast pumping facilities that are a great benefit for new mothers who want to stay with their child but are worried about breast-feeding. (I personally used this when my newborn daughter was in the hospital for her first surgery.) CHKD also allows siblings to visit. Which is important for the whole family. They have special visiting areas on each floor so you can visit with the whole family.

I cannot express enough good things about CHKD and what it has meant for my family over the past three years. Although each of the procedures marina has seen through have been difficult, I have never doubted that CHKD was the place to be we have found only the best doctors, nurses and support staff at CHKD. This is truly the place for children and their families.

Susan Armstrong
By Suanne Armstrong
 
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