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Doctor, where would you take your child for surgery?

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Parents understandably feel fearful when their child needs an operation and often ask their physician: “Where would you take your child? Which doctors and hospital do you trust?”

When Virtua pediatric surgeon Barry Hicks, MD, is asked that question, he confidently answers: “It would be here,” referring to the pediatric surgery program at Virtua Voorhees. “The pediatric surgical team and pediatric hospital are exceptional.”

Surgery at less than 24 hours old
In a recent urgent case at Virtua Voorhees, a newborn suffered from a perforated intestine, a condition that was discovered soon after delivery. Within hours, the newborn was taken into the operating room. A few hours later, the baby was back in the nursery, on the road to a rapid recovery and a full life. Dr. Hicks: “If her parents had to move her to another hospital, precious time would have been wasted, and the experience of physically moving the baby would have caused even more distress to both the child and parents.”

Through Virtua’s partnership with Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, families have 24/7 access to a team of top-ranked, board-certified pediatric surgeons. These surgeons are supported by pediatric anesthesiologists, a surgical team with advanced competency in caring for children, a pediatric unit and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for recovery, and many other pediatric specialists.

“We’re completely staffed and equipped to take care of even the most complex pediatric surgical procedures and all post-operative care, from our tiniest patients in the NICU through teenagers who come to the ED needing surgical care.”

Dr. Hicks knows since he operates on Virtua’s most vulnerable patients, many of whom start out in the Virtua Voorhees Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). For older children, Virtua’s PICU is led by a team of board-certified fellowship-trained pediatric intensivists, so children recovering from procedures are afforded the most advanced treatment.

For planned and unplanned surgery
Beyond emergency surgery, the surgical and postoperative teams at Virtua Voorhees take care of numerous children and adolescents having elective operations, such as hernia repairs, appendectomies, neck masses and chest lesions. Pediatric patients from birth to age 18 receive surgical services from a highly skilled team ofpediatricians, pediatric surgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists and specially trained pediatric nurses.

Child life specialists soothe fears
Every child and family facing medical or surgical treatments can benefit from the unique support offered by a Virtua certified child life specialist. Prior to any procedure, the specialist meets with the child to engage in therapeutic play both before the operation and during recovery, with activities tailored to meet the child’s unique psychological and physical requirements.

Virtua has always been highly regarded for providing excellent care for babies and children. With the expansion of its pediatric surgery capabilities, Virtua again raises the level of pediatric care in South Jersey closer to home.

“As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to find an experienced surgeon at a trusted hospital,” says Dr. Hicks. “Why delay care traveling to another facility when we have the infrastructure to provide excellent care right here for children of any age?”