Stories about: Boston Globe

Children’s becomes first hospital in New England to complete six organ transplant

The cover of today’s Boston Globe features the beaming face of Alannah Shevenell, a 9 year-old who will be heading home to Maine this morning after a three-month stay at Children’s Hospital Boston.

For just under 100 days Alannah and her grandmother have been staying at Children’s while she received treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer that was compromising several of her internal organs. When all other treatments had failed, Heung Bae Kim, MD, director of Children’s Pediatric Transplant Center (PTC), suggested a multivisceral transplant that would remove Alannah’s tumor and replace the six organs that had been damaged by its presence.

Under Kim’s guidance surgeons from Children’s PTC performed the 14-hour procedure. Once Alannah’s tumor was successfully removed doctors took the donor organs, which came from one donor and were kept together as a single unit, and transplanted them into the young girl. Now, a few months later, Alannah is ready to head home, making Children’s PTC the first ever center in New England to successfully transplant six organs in a single procedure— a very impressive number in the field of multivisceral transplantation.

Watch this video from the Boston Globe on Alannah’s treatment:

A multivisceral transplant is one in which the small intestine and liver are replaced, along with one or more of the following organs: spleen, stomach, pancreas or colon.  Multivisceral transplants are used to treat a variety of digestive conditions, with the most common being short bowel syndrome. However, the number of multivisceral transplants performed is significantly lower than procedures involving only one organ; and when you think about the organ transplantation process, it’s easy to understand why.
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Globe article highlights Children's efforts to reduce cost, improve quality

Sandra Fenwick, president and COO

With controlling health care costs high on the list of public policy priorities, Children’s Hospital Boston has been a leader in reducing costs in a way that continues to improve quality. A story in yesterday’s Boston Globe highlights some of our initiatives, including the fact that we voluntarily reduced our prices and rates to private insurers and to Medicaid-managed care programs by $90 million over the last year and a half. Importantly, the article also points out the fact that pediatric care is more expensive to deliver than adult care and that Children’s costs are closely aligned with those of other pediatric-only hospitals around the country; this is a message we’ve been trying to share in discussions with the government and payers in the last several years.

The initiatives described in the article—including working closely with insurers to reduce fees for high-volume appointments and tests, developing payment structures that reward quality and innovation, and an effort to have children with recurrent headaches seen in the most effective and cost-efficient setting—are only a few of the hundreds of projects underway across the hospital. This comprehensive, multi-pronged, data-driven continuous effort  to improve quality and reduce unnecessary resource utilization has driven much of our thinking and planning in the last several years, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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