Everybody knows a building can’t heal a child.
CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA
But, inside this building, some of the brightest minds in pediatric medicine are treating and giving hope to children and their families.
When it comes to caring for children, â€œgood enoughâ€? isnâ€™t good enough. We must have on our team the most inquiring minds, the most skilled hands, and the most compassionate hearts in pediatric medicine.
We recruit, train and retain the best and brightest health care providers to care for our children.
Each day, we make a promise to every child in Alabama â€“ and to children around the world.
If you need our live-giving services, we will meet those needs with one, world-class level of care, regardless of ability to pay.
The whole place is built around the whole family. Every patient floor features a family kitchen with refrigerator and microwave, a laundry room and comfortable sitting areas with natural light. There are also consult rooms for private conversations outside of the patient room.
CARE GIVER ZONE
All patient rooms have a patient zone, a family zone and a care giver zone. The family zone features a sleeper sofa, large wardrobe and small safe for valuables. The patient zone features an education/entertainment system with a flatscreen.
We change stories like this for the better.
Al Guariscoâ€™s Story
A SINGLE PLACE
for all pediatric healthcare services
N S O M E W A Y S , Children’s of Alabama is as familiar to Al Guarisco as his
Daphne, Alabama home. Since his first stay – two hours after his July 11, 2001 birth – he has undergone 20 surgeries or procedures at the place he calls “my Children’s Hospital.” • Al’s medical problems originated from a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. • At 34 weeks gestation, during a perfectly normal pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed the birth defect, which is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm. Ninety percent of Al’s right diaphragm was missing, so his liver and some of his intestines pushed into his chest and blocked the growth of one lung. He had a congenital heart defect as well. • Shortly after a highrisk delivery at UAB, Al transferred to Children’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Ten days later, doctors prepared Al’s parents, Laura and her husband, Michael, for the worst. • “They sat us down and said, ‘We’re not giving up, but we really don’t think he’s going to survive,’” Laura says. “That was the hardest day.” • Three days later, Al stabilized. Then three months later – after two weeks on a heart-lung bypass machine, six weeks on a ventilator, and four surgeries – he went home, with an oxygen tank, a monitor and a feeding tube. • At 19 months, Al was taken by ambulance to Children’s for a bowel obstruction. By age 2, he’d lost all hearing. “Once again, Children’s was there for us,” Laura says. • At age 2 years and 9 months, Al received his first cochlear implant – a surgically implanted electronic device for severe to profound hearing loss. The little boy, who had nearly died as a newborn, was a trooper, says his otolaryngologist and ear surgeon, Dr. Audie Woolley, as were his parents. • “They had already survived the worst part,” Dr. Woolley says. “Deafness was just another obstacle.” • Speech therapy, which required weekly eight-hour round trips for a year and a half to Children’s of Alabama, wasn’t easy on the family, says his audiologist, Emily Rector. But his parents are dedicated, and Al is “a fighter.” By the time he was 5, Al was speaking like a normal 5 year old. • Al required other therapies as well, including feeding therapy, to catch up physically with his peers. He has seen a neurologist, neurosurgeon and an orthopedic doctor as well. “If you need the best, you need Children’s of Alabama,” Laura says. • At age 4, Al was diagnosed with failure to thrive, so his feeding tube was reinserted. Then his congenital heart defect, which was a hole in his heart, was repaired, at UAB. (If done today, it would have been performed at Children’s new Joseph S. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center.) • At age 5, Al was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. “Initially he was well below the growth curve, says his endocrinologist, Dr. Joy Atchison. “He’s really a normal size kid now.” • When Al was 6, he contracted pneumonia, which resulted in another ambulance ride to Children’s. At age 7, Dr. Woolley implanted Al’s second cochlear device. Then, last spring, Al contracted a lung infection, which required a minor procedure – his 20th at Children’s. • Nowadays, Al appears as healthy as his three younger brothers. “He’s a great example that you can have very positive outcomes from very complicated diagnoses,” Dr. Atchison says. • Al is, and has always been, in a regular classroom. His lung reserve is limited, but he was on a swim team and took gymnastics for several years. He played piano as well. “Yes, my ‘deaf’ child took piano lessons,” Laura says. • Al still visits Children’s a couple of times a year to see his pulmonary and endocrinology physicians. And his mother, who is a pediatric nurse, encourages other parents to take their children there as well. • “We’ve seen so many doctors in so many areas.” Laura says. “You’re worried, but you know that Children’s doctors are going to take care of your kid.”
HEARI NG AND SPEECH CENTER
CARDI OVASCULAR SURGERY