Best Children's Hospitals: Digestive and Liver Disorders

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Medical Conditions, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Tweens, Health & Safety: Teens, Development Health, Expert Advice: Health, Health

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Nurses keep things light. Credit: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

When your child is sick, only the very best care is good enough. So, we're highlighting the nation's top children's hospitals and their achievements in research, innovation and, most importantly, patient care. This is the second in the series on best children's hospitals in the United States.

Six-year-old Shane Cohen has endured countless probes, injections and tests since his birth, recently undergoing his 17th endoscopy.

Born with a condition called Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), the Bucks County, Penn., youngster has undergone the treatments in an attempt to make it less painful to swallow and to stave off the vomiting that is at the core of his condition. He and his mom Jessica are no strangers to the postoperative team at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the hospital's outpatient center in Chalfont, Penn.

"The staff is courteous to the parents and fabulous with the children," says Shane's mom. "Shane has been there so many times now that each of the nurses comes in to the room to say hello to him when we get there. We have never had to translate the words spoken by one doctor to another because they have already been in touch. Now we just need to find a cure."

The Cohens' experience speaks volumes about the lifestyles of the millions of families whose children battle chronic digestive and nutritional disorders, ranging from ulcerative colitis to liver disease, that put kids on transplant lists. "These are not situations where medical experts simply treat the child; these are conditions where the child and parents need to be educated and empowered to transform that treatment into a lifestyle," says William F. Balistreri, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and president of The Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (CDHNF).

Here are the top hospitals treating digestive disorders for children:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati Children's is ranked the No. 1 children's hospital for digestive conditions, through several ranking organizations and in the U.S. News survey. Every year, more than 5,000 children are hospitalized here with digestive and liver disorders, and 10,200 children are treated on an outpatient basis. Dr. Balistreri is medical director of the hospital's Pediatric Liver Care Center, a leader in pediatric liver care, treating all four phases of transplantation, from pre-care through surgery and follow-up care, and averaging 25 children's liver transplants a year, or more than 400 children's liver transplants since 1986. The hospital was also ranked a top hospital in The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Survey.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Philadelphia, Penn.
CHOP is home to the Joint Penn-CHOP Center for Digestive, Liver and Pancreatic Medicine, which puts a strong emphasis on collaboration between research, clinical care and lifestyle education for children being treated for digestive disorders. The hospital offers an extensive nutritional services program from its Nutrition in the Kitchen cookbook, designed to inspire kids to cook and crave healthy foods, to nutritional counseling services with registered dietitians. CHOP is ranked as the leading children's hospital in the nation and No. 2 in the U.S. News survey for digestive disorders, and was named one of the top 10 children's hospitals in the Parents/NACHRI study. Convenience for families is key, as CHOP offers numerous outpatient centers throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Center for Celiac Disease is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. And CHOP features a "hospital within a hospital," with The Fred and Suzanne Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center, a world leader in the treatment of acute and chronic pediatric liver diseases.

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Penn.
The hospital is called a leader in The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Survey and is the No. 5 top digestive and liver disorders children's hospital, according to the U.S. News report. The hospital is a pioneer in the development and use of electronic health records, reducing medication errors by 60 percent since the implementation of Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE).

Related: Best Children's Hospitals: Top 3

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.