Children's Mercy Hospital

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A new transplant center at Children’s Mercy will foster collaboration between heart, kidney and liver specialists.

Executive Medical Director Charlie Roberts says bringing the three transplant teams together will allow Children’s Mercy to offer patients an even higher level of care.

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Testing the complete DNA of critically ill infants can lead to significant changes in treatment strategy, according to a newly published article by researchers at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Genetic diseases are the leading cause of mortality in infants, according to Dr. Laurel K. Willig, a Children’s Mercy pediatric nephrologist and a lead author of the study.

She says many of these diseases may go undiagnosed, however, because of inadequate testing of critically ill newborns.

An agreement between the University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy will strengthen research, education and clinical ties between the institutions in oncology and beyond, officials said Wednesday at a signing ceremony.

“This just makes so much sense,” said Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC). “It also is the best thing for our kids, and that is what has to drive all of this.”

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Children’s Mercy Hospital said late Monday that it has joined a consortium organized through the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Children’s Mercy joins the University of Kansas and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., as the third member of the NCI Consortium, according to Children’s Mercy spokeswoman Melissa Novak.

The institutions will provide more details at a news conference Wednesday at Children’s Mercy, she said.

Doctors don't know what caused a severe neurologic condition to manifest itself a few months ago in three patients, including a 13-year-old from Joplin, Mo. On this edition of Up To Date, we try to understand this mysterious condition, and learn how doctors investigate unknown diseases.

Guests:

  • Dr. Mary Anne Jackson is the Division Chief of Infectious Disease at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
  • Dan Margolies is the health editor at KCUR.
Mark McDonald / Children's Mercy Hospital

 

 

Children’s Mercy Hospital has a medical mystery on its hands.

Doctors there are trying to figure out what caused a severe neurologic condition between mid-September and early October in three patients, including a 13-year-old from Joplin, Mo.

And like other researchers around the country, they’re trying to figure out if the condition – which the medical community has termed acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) – is related to the recent nationwide outbreak of a polio-like virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Millie McWilliams comes to life when she listens to the party music of Jason Aldean. The 9-year-old discovered the country-pop superstar at a family friend’s house, and her love of the genre came as a bit of a surprise to her parents.

“I’ve actually gotten into it because of her!” Earl McWilliams says. “You know, that’s how it is with your kids. You find yourself interested in whatever they’re interested in, just to stay connected to them.”

Merrill College of Journalism / Flickr Creative Commons

  A new proposal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would change the way we regulate medical research. Some doctors disagree with the changes believing that it will  confuse patients, and make participation in clinical trials more difficult. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a bioethicist and an outcomes researcher about why they oppose altering research guidelines. 

Guests: 

Children's Mercy Hospital

About 3,000 infants are born each year with single-ventricle heart defects.

While that’s a relatively small number, for the newborns’ families the diagnosis can be devastating, says Dr. Girish Shirali, co-director of the Ward Family Heart Center at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

“It’s very difficult for families, because nobody expects this. So it kind of comes like a bolt from the blue,” he says.

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Over the years, physicians at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics have developed substantial expertise in caring for patients before and after they receive heart transplants.

But now the hospital can provide the full spectrum of care to these children, following approval last week for it to perform such transplants itself.

The go-ahead came from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a nonprofit group that oversees organ allocation and transplant programs under contract with the federal government.

The Midwest Cancer Alliance on Tuesday announced the formal opening of a clinic designed especially for adult survivors of childhood cancer.

“This program helps give pediatric cancer survivors access to long-term care tailored to their unique needs," Dr. Becky Lowry, the new clinic’s medical director, said in a prepared statement.

Survivors of childhood cancer, she said, often are prone to secondary cancers, fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems and endocrine problems.

Centers for Disease Control

With the kids in school, the risk of viral infection skyrockets. Over the past month, a rare form of enterovirus has sent more than 400 children in the Kansas City area to the emergency room.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with local health care professionals to better understand Enterovirus D68.

Guests:

Same-Sex Unions Pose Challenge To Hospitals

Jul 23, 2014

The absence of legal protections for same-sex couples made the news last year when a Kansas City hospital denied a man the right to stay by his male partner’s bedside.

Now many area hospitals are trying to make themselves more accommodating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families.  

Nearly two years ago, Kris Saim received some harrowing news.  He was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. But the diagnosis wasn’t the only thing he was worried about.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Every morning, Dr. Charles Barnes treks up to the roof of Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., to pull a collection slide out of the hospital's spore trap, a small machine consisting of a vacuum pump and wind main.

The little plastic slide may not look like much, but it provides an accurate pollen count for the entire Kansas City metro area.

"We've had this same technology and process for the last 24 years," Barnes says. "It's really pretty simple."

Robot Helps Save The Day At Rural Hospital

Jun 3, 2014
Hamilton County Hospital

Some small, rural Kansas hospitals are using highly sophisticated medical robots in ways that are helping ease the shortage of specialists in their areas and - in at least one instance - boosting the bottom line.

Hamilton County Hospital, in Syracuse, Kan., was on the brink of closing little more than a year ago because of financial and staffing problems, but use of a robot has been a key factor in the facility’s dramatic turnaround, according to chief executive Bryan Coffey.

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 The nation’s largest education and advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has recognized Children’s Mercy Hospital for its progressive policies toward LGBT patients, employees, and families.

The Human Rights Campaign will honor Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Mo., with the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Award.

Children's Mercy Hospital

On Wednesday, the Hall Family Foundation announced that it was pledging $75 million to Children's Mercy Hospital for build a translational medicine research building on Children's Mercy's campus on Hospital Hill.

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The Hall Family Foundation is pledging $75 million to build a research building at Children’s Mercy Hospital, but only if Jackson County voters pass a half-cent medical research sales tax. 

At the hospital Wednesday, foundation president Bill Hall said the tax offers Kansas City a big opportunity.

"We recognize it is asking a great deal of the voters of Jackson County," he said. "However, we believe this is a moment we must seize. The tax is transformational."

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A first public hearing before the Jackson County Legislature on a proposed sales tax for medical research drew no outright opposition.  

Legislators do have a hefty array of questions about costs and benefits.


If sent to and approved by Jackson County voters, the half cent sales tax is estimated to generate about $40 million a year for what has been termed "Translational Medical Research."

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital expect a three-week-old girl to make a full recovery after they closed an aneurysm in her brain, using super glue. 

Jared and Gina Julian knew there was something wrong with their three-week-old daughter.  Her mother says little Ashlyn began screaming and showing other symptoms.

“She was very stiff, then very rag-doll limp, and then kind of not super responsive,” says Gina Julian. “And later that night, she again projectiled, at which point in time we just were, she’s going back to the hospital.”

Recent tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado have elevated the discussion around firearms and more recently, around how to best respond to kids who’ve experienced trauma like a school shooting or community violence.

Mark McDonald / Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Recent advances in genome sequencing, including a technology developed at Children’s Mercy Hospital known as "fast sequencing," are helping medical professionals diagnose often-fatal diseases. 

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Two Kansas City hospitals have announced plans to work together to create a single, integrated pediatric program.

Flu Season Starts In Kansas City

Dec 3, 2012
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Flu season is getting underway. According to Dr. Christopher Harrison at Children’s Mercy Hospital, it’s here early.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Families, patients and staff members craving a Coke at Children’s Mercy Hospital will soon have to find their fix elsewhere.

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Researchers in Kansas City may have developed a way to speed up the diagnosis of critically ill infants with genetic diseases.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Area health officials are cautioning that whooping cough, which notably broke out in Johnson County this past spring, continues to be a problem throughout the Kansas City region. 

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Children's Mercy gets out of the HMO business, Kansas Dems seek to increase school funding & a bill could override Missouri governor's authority in creating a health care exchange: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Sale of Local Medicaid HMO Final

Jan 10, 2012

Children’s Mercy Hospital is officially out of the Medicaid HMO business.  The hospital has finalized the sale of its non-profit plan after more than a decade of operation.

Caring For Kids With Life-Threatening Illnesses

Dec 21, 2010

Kansas City, MO – The idea that a child might die is something that's difficult to grasp, even for hospitals. Children's Mercy in Kansas City has only had a palliative care program for a few years. Rosemary Hubble manages the program. She's a petite woman, originally from Great Britain. But as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, she serves an important - though not prominently featured - role at the hospital.

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