Happy 10th Birthday Dell Children’s

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Q&A with Meena Iyer, MD

As Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas celebrates a decade of service to patients and families, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the meaning of this milestone.

Meena Iyer, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Dell Children’s takes a look back at the past ten years at how the hospital has improved healthcare for children in Austin and beyond. Plus, Dr. Iyer shares a sneak peek at plans to further enhance pediatric care in the years to come.

Q: Tell us a little about the history of Dell Children’s.

Dell Children’s is part of Seton and Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

Before Dell Children’s opened, babies, kids and teens received care at Children’s Hospital of Austin, a pediatric unit within the former University Medical Center Brackenridge. As Austin grew, Seton began its plan to meet the needs of children in this community. Physicians dreamed of a free-standing pediatric hospital where families could access a full spectrum of care, right here in Austin without having to send families out of town for major specialty care.

That dream came to life when Dell Children’s opened on June 30, 2007. Dell Children’s became the only place for comprehensive pediatric specialty care in Central Texas— a place for families to receive world-class care, close to home.

Today, Dell Children’s serves a 46-county area, roughly the size of Ohio. Our trauma care for children has improved dramatically in the past decade. Dell Children’s built the only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center in Central Texas, nationally accredited by the American College of Surgeons. It’s the highest level of trauma care possible.

This means if your child is injured and comes to our emergency department, our experts are capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury. Our teams work on every aspect of trauma care from prevention to treatment. Having this level of care is a resource to the entire region.

Q: What are some of Dell Children’s’ major accomplishments? How have those milestones helped improve care for kids?

Over the past 10 years, we’ve grown our comprehensive pediatric specialty care, recruiting highly-trained doctors and clinical staff in areas like hematology and oncology, epilepsy and cardiology.

For a parent, it can be scary to bring their child to the hospital. But for patients with complex medical needs—like epilepsy, heart conditions or cancer—they can get that care right here in Austin, closer to home without having to travel to see a specialist and receive treatment.

Through our research partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, we’ve brought clinical trials and research to Central Texas children and their families. Trials that may someday lead to innovative treatments and cures.

When kids are severely injured, every second matters. Also important is the experience, precision and compassion of our caregivers. Dell Children’s staff embody these qualities. Their promise to the community is to meet every potential need of injured children — to save their lives and improve their quality of life beyond the hospital doors.

Q: What’s currently growing and what can parents expect in the next 10 years?

We’re very excited about the next 10 years as we continue to improve care. In the fall of 2016 we brought on a world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon, so that any time a baby is born with a heart condition we can do some of the most complex surgeries right here in Austin. The Regional Heart Center at Dell Children’s includes innovative medical resources, including new heart mapping technology with low radiation. Part of our goal in enhancing cardiac care for kids is working towards a radiation-free catheterization lab.

Dell Children’s is also leading the way by improving mental health resources for kids. By early 2018, children and teens will have access to a new, state-of-the-art mental health unit. The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s will house a 24-bed inpatient unit, an outpatient unit and an intensive outpatient program.

Finally, parents can look forward to high-quality, convenient pediatric care in their neighborhood because Dell Children’s ER is expanding to several Emergency Rooms throughout our network. Dell Children’s care is available at Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Seton Northwest, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock and in Waco at Providence ER.

For added convenience, parents can make appointments online for minor emergencies and select their preferred site at DellChildrensER.com.

Q: Anyone you’d like to thank?

I can’t begin to express how grateful we are for all the support—the community, our generous donors, patients, their families and our staff. Thank you for helping us to improve health care for Central Texas children.

No parent wants to end up in the hospital with their child, but if it happens, families can trust their child will receive the best care possible. It’s been an incredible journey so far growing programs and creating better access to medical care.

For more information on Dell Children’s visit www.dellchildrens.net