Kids and their families from St. Louis—and around the world—turn to St. Louis Children’s Hospital when they’re sick. And the reasons why are plentiful, says Dr. Brad Warner, the hospital’s surgeon-in-chief and a professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. “We’re the largest pediatric surgery group in the region, and all of our surgeons are board-certified in pediatric surgery,” he says. “We provide some of the world’s most advanced medical technologies here, in a very caring and compassionate environment that puts the patient and their family first. We do a lot of things that are innovative, and I think we also do a great job in the more routine types of things, like hernias or appendicitis, or lumps and bumps.”
As the only Level 1 pediatric trauma center certified by the American College of Surgeons in Missouri or Illinois, the hospital treats cases of trauma from across the region. “We take care of the most routine and also the most extremely complex and serious traumas,” Warner says.
Families from throughout the U.S. bring their children to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for management of inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease; as well as to the Fetal Care Center, which treats conditions ranging from abnormalities of the head, neck, heart and brain, to gastroschisis—an abdominal wall defect for which T.J. Oshie’s daughter was recently treated at the hospital, Warner says. “All of those things require multidisciplinary conferences, with input from various subspecialists all at once, to determine the optimal way to manage these children.”
And patients come from around the world—recently, from regions including the Dominican Republic and Liberia—for advanced surgery on the esophagus, as well as other conditions, Warner adds.
Putting the patients first is a concept that is really taken to heart at the hospital, where Warner says, “The research that we’re doing really creates an environment where the children are exposed to the very finest treatment. We have an environment where there a lot of people asking good questions—it makes us strive to be better. The status quo is not good enough.”
St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s partnership with the world-class medical school of Washington University helps foster each one’s commitment to excellence, he adds. “I think that the combination is very strong, so we can do what’s the very best for the child at all times.”
That dedication plays out through a variety of quality-improvement initiatives, Warner notes. “We continuously identify things that will create better outcomes for patients—that are less costly and more efficient at the same time. Our patient satisfaction scores are through the roof: We have extremely high ratings for patient wait times, the willingness of the patient to return, and the satisfaction of the patient with the physician.”
Though many children who come through the door might have big medical problems, the staff never forgets that these small patients have special needs and fears, Warner says. “Our goal is to provide the finest care that is the most efficient, safe and the most positive experience possible.”