Shaika Echtibi’s father is in her room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He’s on the phone requesting approval for a machine his daughter will need to help in her recovery. By his side is Zaid, an Arabic-speaking medical interpreter from International Patient Services at Children’s Hospital. He’s translating between the attending physician, nursing team, Shaika’s father and the representative on the other end of the line. The little girl suffers from a combination of rare congenital conditions and developmental delays and has come to CHOP for care she couldn’t receive in her native country.
This scene has become a familiar one at CHOP, where more than 1,000 international patients were treated over the last few years. Nearly half of those patients came to the Hospital for care in fiscal year 2013, traveling from more than 60 countries. A broad array of global relationships allows CHOP to treat some of the most complex pediatric cases in the world, addressing not just the medical, but also the cultural needs of the patient and family.
The growth of the international patient population is the most obvious sign of CHOP’s international strategy, but the work of International Medicine reaches far beyond patient care. New collaborations and programs here at home and around the world are establishing Children’s Hospital as a global leader in pediatric healthcare.
Observer Khair Jahal, MD, attends a Division of Neonatology clinical conference during her visit to CHOP.
International visitors to CHOP are not just patients, but also medical professionals and administrators. In the last year, 72 medical observers from more than 30 countries visited the Hospital. They came to learn about our care model in the inpatient setting, pediatric network, surgical services, operating room set-up, critical care and Emergency Department. They spent weeks shadowing our clinicians to improve their own skills. They immersed themselves in the operations of clinical departments and took their knowledge back to their home hospitals.
Children’s Hospital also works with leading pediatric organizations around the world. Significant collaborations are under way with Beijing Aiyuhua Hospital for Women and Children, opening in June 2014, and King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. CHOP experts are advising on the design and development of the facilities and providing education and training in clinical and operational areas, including patient safety, quality and family-centered care.
While collaborative relationships with other children’s hospitals around the world solidify, CHOP will continue treating patients like Shaika, now 6. With help from CHOP’s physical and occupational therapists, she’s learned to walk, and as she grows, her quality of life is likely to improve even more. Shaika has seen huge benefits from her treatment in Philadelphia. Doctors here have also learned from this little girl, who has spent months in the Hospital under the care of CHOP clinicians and care providers.
“It’s not just about us going out and changing the world. The world is changing us.” says Cynthia Haines, senior vice president of International Medicine. “CHOP is becoming a different organization because of our international efforts and because of these children we’re caring for. We can’t help but evolve.”