Parenting: Suburban surgery for kids

Surgery for children is expanding farther into the suburbs.

A partnership between Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Abington Memorial Hospital now includes around-the-clock pediatric surgery in Abington.
December 28, 2011 11:00:40 AM PST
You hate to see it happen, but sometimes, kids are injured or become sick enough to require a surgical procedure. If you live in the suburbs, this has historically driven many people to bring their kids into Philadelphia to one of the region's large pediatric hospitals. But in more recent years, more comprehensive services have been expanding outward. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for example, has a newborn and pediatric clinic in West Chester, Chester County, with various pediatric specialists on site. And both CHOP and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children have expanded into the suburbs with either clinics or cooperative affiliations with other hospitals.

Now, CHOP is expanding northward into Montgomery County with the recent opening of The Specialty Care Center at Abington Memorial Hospital, a joint venture between the two entities. The facility opened in the spring, but this month, the Center is expanding its services to include 24-hour coverage for pediatric surgeries. This gives families who live in the northern suburbs outside of Philadelphia a closer alternative to traveling into the city for certain procedures.

Two pediatric surgeons will be toiling at Abington Memorial, Ala Frey, M.D. and Pablo Laje, M.D., who together, will be providing full coverage for pediatric surgical care, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The Center has eight exam rooms and two consulting rooms for doctors, patients and their parents to meet and discuss treatment. There is also lab space. Some of the specialties covered at the new location include issues of the heart, intestines, circulatory system and hormonal issues. The Center is also set-up to do certain diagnostic testing including EKGs.

Philadelphia is still home to some noteworthy pediatric medical centers, of course, and some parents may prefer the more traditional or familiar care options. But services are expanding to meet the suburban need. 24-hour pediatric surgery in Abington is the latest example.

---David Murphy

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