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CHOC GETS TRIBUTE FROM REGISTER SUBSCRIBERS

February 25, 2013

From The Orange County Register

Published Februry 24, 2013

Efforts to normalize hospital experience is recognized by $130,000 in Golden Envelope assignments.

By ARIELLA RAMS / FOR THE REGISTER

Since its beginnings in 1964, Children's Hospital of Orange County has treated more than 2 million children from Orange County, across the nation and three other countries.

The county's leading pediatric hospital has earned national recognition for both its medical accomplishments and its ability to create a comforting atmosphere for children and their families despite the scary circumstances that bring them to it.

When Charlotte Jordan and her parents began their medical journey at CHOC in 2010, the physicians, nurses and child-life specialists made the hospital off Main Street in Orange feel like a second home.

"I've never been alone in this since meeting this team at CHOC," said Lindsay Jordan, Charlotte's mom. "We have a second family who is there to see us at our worst days in the hospital and celebrate the milestones with us."

This kind of holistic care is appreciated. Orange County Register daily subscribers earmarked $130,000 in advertising for CHOC through the newspaper's Golden Envelope program.

By the time she was 3, Charlotte was perpetually sick. Her growth was stunted, her stomach was distended, and she was showing signs of hypoglycemia – low blood sugar.

"I'd go into the various pediatricians and tell them something's wrong," Lindsay Jordan said. "They would tell me she was fine. I even had a doctor tell me I was lying once."

At CHOC, Charlotte's new physicians ran blood and DNA tests. Six weeks later, the Jordans got her diagnosis: glycogen storage disease 1A.

The rare metabolic disease prevents Charlotte's liver from properly producing glucose.

Left untreated, Charlotte could face severe hypoglycemia that would further stunt her physical growth and prevent her organs from developing properly.

The Child Life Department at CHOC, responsible for normalizing the hospital experience for patients and families as much as possible, plays an integral part in Charlotte's treatment. Child-life specialists use services including therapeutic medical play and pet and music therapy to educate children and families as the children go through procedures, surgeries, diagnosis and therapy.

Sam Martoia is Charlotte's child-life specialist, often referred to by Charlotte, now 6, as "my girl Sam."

The two met in 2011 and worked together on weekends, generally engaging in medical play and other bedside activities.

"The level of care for families and everyone involved is key," Martoia said. "We treat kids like kids and try to make the hospital a less scary place for them. This way we can provide the best care for families."

"Sam is the epitome of all the great things at CHOC," Lindsay Jordan said.

Those "great things" include a 238-bed hospital facility in Orange, a hospital-within-a-hospital in Mission Viejo, primary and specialty care clinics, and more than 100 programs.

The hospital's website also outlines four specialty institutes:

  • The Hyundai Cancer Institute is dedicated to covering all the needs of the child being treated for cancer – emotional, spiritual and physical – through a family-centered approach.
  • The Heart Institute is the only regional facility that performs neonatal and pediatric open heart surgery. Physicians also provide treatment for children with all forms of heart disease.
  • The Neuroscience Institute evaluates and treats neurological disorders, has a rare epilepsy program, and provides the only regional baclofen pump program, a pediatric neuroscience inpatient unit.
  • The Orthopaedic Institute also is regionally one of a kind, providing diagnosis and treatment of complex orthopedic injuries, illness and disorders.

Children's Hospital of Orange County
Total revenue: $49 million
Total expenses: $47.4 million
Program spending: $46 million
Management spending: $360,003
Fundraising spending: $1.06 million
Net assets*: $35.6 million
Source: Charity Navigator, Guidestar; *fiscal year 2010-11

Contact the writer: arams@ocregister.com

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