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Pediatric Orthopaedics at Floating Hospital: Big resources for the littlest of patients

10/01/2009

Ask Stuart V. Braun, MD, what he does as Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis at Floating Hospital for Children, and he’ll enthusiastically tell you how he and his team take care of children – from newborns to young adults – with a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems.

Ask him to explain what these problems include, and he’ll enumerate a broad range of conditions from fractures and sports-related injuries to scoliosis and spinal deformities, hip dysplasia, neuromuscular problems like cerebral palsy, and genetic or syndrome-related issues such as dwarfism.

And then he says, simply, “It’s the best job in the world.”

Braun’s enthusiasm and dedication exemplify the quality and responsiveness of the care that his division provides. For referring physicians’ young patients and their parents, this not only means access to highly trained and experienced subspecialists, but also an unparalleled sense of kindness during what can be a challenging time for families.

“Aspects of what we do distinguish us,” says Braun. “As a premier tertiary hospital, we have the resources to take care of problems from the simple to the complex. Simple issues we treat simply. For more complicated issues, multiple specialists convene and collaborate on what the patient needs at each visit.

“For example, if a child with cerebral palsy is having leg-movement difficulty, there may be neurological issues that require a neurologist’s expertise, functional issues that a physiatrist would care for, or surgical needs that I would address,” he continues. “Because we all work together in close physical proximity, I can pick up the phone or just walk down the hall to bring in a colleague when necessary. It makes for coherent, efficient care, and it makes the patient’s experience as easy as possible, reducing the need for multiple visits.”

The Pediatric Orthopaedics resources available at Floating Hospital for Children are deep and broad.

“Pediatric orthopaedic surgery is an area of innovation,” Braun says. “My predecessor Michael J. Goldberg, MD – who remains a consultant to our division – developed this specialized center for children with genetic syndromes and dysplasia more than 20 years ago, and we have always been a center of excellence for that.

“We also have expertise in complex spinal care, doing cutting-edge work with spinal implants and deformities, and we’ve had advanced training in correcting clubfoot deformity with the Ponseti method,” he continues. “And we have a great deal of expertise in adolescent and young adult hip disorders, including early arthritis.”

“Few other hospitals have this level of training and expertise in pediatric orthopaedics,” notes Floating Orthopaedic Surgeon Puru A. Gholve, MD,. In fact, he characterizes the Floating Hospital for Children as “a front-runner” in the advanced surgical treatment of hip impingement and dysplasia in adolescents and young adults. “We are doing cutting-edge work in open surgical hip dislocation, hip arthroscopy and periacetabular osteotomy,” he adds.

Braun’s and Gholve’s expertise is complemented by the talents of Christopher Geary, MD, who provides expert sports-related care. Part of the adult Orthopaedics Division of Tufts Medical Center, he has important expertise to share in the collaboration on pediatric patients with complex sports-related ligament problems.

Floating Hospital for Children is also distinguished by the careful, personal attention it gives to patients and their families.

“There’s a sense of intimacy and kindness that we extend to patients and families that’s the foundation of this hospital,” says Braun. “I can’t raise that flag high enough for this place. It’s not just the physicians and surgeons but also the nurses, technologists, office assistants – everyone across the breadth of care. And it’s genuine.”

A similar commitment extends to the referring physician community.

“We have an open-door referral policy,” says Braun. “If a referring physician has a patient with an urgent need, we’ll see that patient the same or next day; there’s always a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon in clinic every day of the week. If it’s an emergency, you can send the patient to our clinic or the ED. Everything we do is based on the priority of the patient’s needs and those of the referring physician.”

“If and when we find something significant, we’ll pick up the phone and call the referring physician to discuss it,” Gholve adds. “We don’t wait for dictation to be completed.”

“If there’s one message I want to convey to the referring community, it’s about the high level of complex care we provide and the unique way in which we do it – caring, patient-centered and integrated,” says Braun. “We love our work, and it shows in how we manage and work with patients and their pediatricians.”

As testament to this, Braun says that he and Gholve see patients today who are the children of patients who once saw Dr. Goldberg.