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The Pediatric Airway team guides the parents throughout the entire process. Parents become part of the process, part of the team.
"Airway comes first." The Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is nationally renowned for expert repair and comprehensive care for children with complex airway disorders.
Joanne Stow, MSN: It's important to come to a center like Children's Hospital of Philadelphia because of the strength and the depth of the talent that we bring to these children.
Asim Maqbool, MD: They say, "It takes a village to raise a child," but it takes a very dedicated team to take care of these complex medical conditions.
John E. Fiadjoe, MD: We all work very closely together. We deal with a lot of challenging patients, and we have the experience necessary to take care of these cases.
Joanne Stow, MSN: We feel very comfortable when we tell a family that we can handle their child's most difficult problems.
Karen B. Zur, MD: Twice a month we meet as a team to discuss our findings in the operating room.
Asim Maqbool, MD: We address every concern of the child and of the parents and approach them from every perspective possible to ensure every chance of success.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: When one has a team as large as the Pediatric Airway Program encompassing multiple specialties, nurses, support staff, communication is the key.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: And we challenge each other. We're constantly collaborating with each other on surgical approaches.
Mary Kelly, Mother: They were there guiding us, letting us know what to expect during surgery, letting us know what to expect during recovery in the ICU.
Jed Kelly, Father: And they made us feel part of the process. And that was very important to us.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: We really couldn't do all this without having the family as an integral part.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: The family is always part of the team. They really know the inside track on what's going on with the child, how their voice is, whether they're feeding well.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: They'll spend countless hours helping their child through a lot of difficult procedures, a lot of social support, a lot of physical support, and all of that's absolutely necessary of the a successful outcome.
Joanne Stow, MSN: It's phenomenal the things that we can do now that we weren't able to do even 10, 15 years ago.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: We've had a number of advances in recent years that are continuing to build
John E. Fiadjoe, MD: And as we get more information, we integrate that into our practice.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: We want to attack all aspects of this problem, not only from a clinical end, but from a research end, from an education end.
Karen B. Zur, MD: Currently, we have great procedures that we can do in order to reconstruct the airway. But, ideally, we would like to prevent scarring from happening. And we would like to provide other types of reconstruction that do not necessarily include harvesting grafts from their rib site.
Joanne Stow, MSN: There's tissue engineering that is being looked at very closely.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: Recreating new tissues and new organs using cells taken from specific sites in the body.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: There's a lot that's going to happen in the future that's going to make our care a lot better--more successful results, better outcomes in the future.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: It's great to see families with such challenging situations rise up to that challenge and deal with the problems. It's also great to see the successful outcomes.
Eric Nicolai, Father: Alec got hurt in June, and he just made this travel team. And the big deal was in August or early September they were going to Boston to play in the tournament.
Alec Nicolai: My dad tells me that after surgery the first thing I asked was, "Can I play?"
Eric Nicolai, Father: When he got the news that he could play the week prior to the tournament, that was like the greatest news he ever got, and he got back out on the ice like nothing ever happened.
Joanne Stow, MSN: I love it when we put a cap on a child's trach in the office, and they make a sound for a first time. And they look at their parents in such surprise "Was that me?" And they repeat it over and over.
Ralph F. Wetmore, MD: Seeing a child, you know, use their voice for a first time after having a tracheostomy is always an exciting thing. The other is when you see a kid come in with a trach and leave without a trach, that's a great day.
Karen B. Zur, MD: The most rewarding part of my job as an airway surgeon is to see the little ones running in our clinic, singing Happy Birthday, not have a trach tube.
Ian N. Jacobs, MD: Once they get it out they seem to get much more active. They do a lot more activities. They go swimming for the first time.
Mary Kelly, Mother: Bringing Addison home without her trach has opened up a whole new world for all of us.
Jed Kelly, Father: Swimming. Taking a shower. Her sensation of water on her face. She had never had that before.
Mary Kelly, Mother: And it was just awesome not worrying about the water going into her trach.
Jed Kelly, Father: Watching her do that for the first time, she was a little scared and tentative and then she's smiling after a few moments.
Mary Kelly, Mother: And we're just having all these new experiences with her that are phenomenal.
Jed Kelly, Father: After having gone through so much with her to get to this point, you just are so thankful that it's happened.
Mary Kelly, Mother: And we'll joke with her. We'll say, "Oh, Addi, come on we got to do your trach care," and she'll show us her neck and she'll go like this, "No trach, no trach."
Asim Maqbool, MD: Seeing these children when all is said and done walking, running, skipping, normally with virtually no scar other than the old tracheostomy stoma that's been closed over.
John E. Fiadjoe, MD: The joy of seeing a patient coming back to follow up who we met as an infant and now is a teenager and is active and achieving all of his goals is really the reward that you get from taking care of these patients.
Joanne Stow, MSN: We have a real special place in our hearts for those kids and those families. We watch those children grow. We help them through a lot of different interventions that are required to try and help make their lives as happy and as normal as possible.