U.S. News & World Report has named Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) among the top nationally ranked pediatric nephrology (kidney care) programs in the country.In 2010, CHoR identified a critical need for better access to pediatric kidney care in Richmond. In response to this gap in care, CHoR expanded its nephrology program, hired a multidisciplinary team of specialists, opened additional satellite clinics for increased access and tripled appointment availability.Children with kidney problems require continuous comprehensive care, from frequent lab work and clinic visits, to multiple dialysis appointments per week. CHoR’s revitalized nephrology program was specifically developed to provide families with a multidisciplinary approach to care. The team includes nephrologists to meet a child’s medical needs, a nurse educator to help the family understand the diagnosis and treatment, a social worker to meet school-related and support needs and a dietitian to teach children about proper nutrition. CHoR is the only provider of pediatric nephrology services in Central Virginia, and is able to take care of all aspects of renal disease, from dialysis to transplantation.“We have committed ourselves to growing pediatric programs,” said Sheldon Retchin, MD, CEO of VCU Health System. “Pediatric kidney care was an area where we saw intense need in the Richmond community. Attracting the right specialists and staff was an important step in building a program, and this national ranking is a great sign it has paid off for our patients.”The nephrology program cares for children from Richmond – and afar. The program has over 2,500 outpatient visits and 1,500 inpatient encounters a year. Many families travel to CHoR to receive the best kidney care. For the Jaramillo family, it meant saving their child’s life. Dani is 8-years-old and was diagnosed with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). The family first discovered the condition when Dani’s mother, Pilar Jaramillo, was still pregnant with her son.
“We live in Washington D.C. but we drive to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU to receive the best kidney care for Dani,” said Pilar. “We don’t want care that just helps him get by; we want Dani to have a chance at living life to the fullest. As parents we want what’s best for our kids but we don’t have the same knowledge doctors do.”
Dr. Timothy Bunchman and his team help Dani continue to thrive and enjoy his childhood by proactively looking forward and determining the best treatment options available.“Early diagnosis and ongoing treatment are essential for children with kidney problems,” said Timothy Bunchman, MD, professor and chief of the division of nephrology at CHoR. “Our goal is to help families avoid bringing their child to the pediatric ER in crisis.”Dr. Bunchman has trained Dani’s mother to do hemodialysis treatment, making Dani one of the youngest children in the country to receive this treatment at home.
“When your child’s health is in jeopardy, it’s the most helpless feeling in the world,” said Pilar. “I cannot thank Dr. Bunchman and his team enough for their ability to rise to the challenge and their willingness to include me as part of Dani’s care team.”
CHoR is honored to be included in the 2013 -2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Thank you to the compassionate staff and community for your support and dedication!