U.S. News and World Report ranked Le Bonheur Children's Hospital among the top pediatric hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery, putting into consideration their clinical research, death rates and patient safety.
But at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, they say it's more than these checklist items that sets them apart: It's the people.
"If you look at our cardiac unit, we have adults that work with us that were born with congenital heart defects and it's a really amazing thing especially for our patients to realize that their providers have gone through the same things they have done," says Dr. Vijay Joshi with Le Bonheur's Cardiac Unit.
By the time the child heads home with mom or dad, there aren't just handfuls or a dozen people that have helped heal their hearts. Everyone makes an effort to make a difference.
"The moment they walk into that hospital from the time they leave, there are probably 100 people that have touched that child's life," says Joshi, "From everyone who draws up the medication in pharmacy precisely to the scrub nurse in the operating room to obviously the doctors."
Doctors and surgeons also invite parents to follow their children step-by-step through MRI scans to surgery, allowing them to not only comfort their child but also have an understanding of what's happening.
"Ignorance is a dangerous thing," says Joshi, "A lot of times our complex babies they will get beautiful surgery and two weeks later they might die at home because the parent didn't understand why a medication needed to be given at exactly the right time."
Joshi also credits the hospital's willingness to provide doctors and surgeons with the equipment they need to more efficiently do their jobs, including providing a 3D cardiac MRI machine. He says the 3D cardiac MRIs allow surgeons to see not just the front but also from the sides and behind the child's heart.
"With these complex cases, it allows us to plan the operation and a surgeon to know exactly what they're going to do rather than discover where things are," says Joshi, "With complex congenital heart patients, nothing is … often things are not where they arena space. An aorta is not in its usual location, pulmonary artery is not in its usual location, valves aren't where they ordinarily are."
Cardiac surgeons and doctors are also sure to follow patients they treated as children for heart disease through adulthood. Many of the patients come back for Cardiac Kids Camp to help children who are going through what they once went through themselves.