From the desk of Dr. Robert Faucheux
Pediatrics Committee Chairman, St. Tammany Parish Hospital
A Case for Pediatric Advancement...
I am honored to be a member of the St. Tammany Parish Hospital family, serving as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Pediatrics Committee for approximately seven years now. During this time, I have had a front row seat from which to watch the development of Pediatrics in our community.
Most of you likely know that the field of Pediatrics involves being aware of and meeting the health needs of children in a community. What some of you may not be aware of are the specific resources required to ensure that our children are cared for in our community. Such resources include Pediatric subspecialists to care for children with chronic health issues ranging from heart disease to cancer, the specialized resources of dedicated Pediatric emergency services and the necessary equipment required to care for the smallest of patients. While I can attest that our community is truly fortunate to have dedicated, caring general pediatricians, I cannot reassure you that we are as equipped to meet the needs of those same children when they require specialized care.
As our experience with Hurricane Katrina demonstrated so well, it is not human nature to be aware of what necessities are lacking or even absent until they are needed in an emergency.
Please consider these facts:
- Despite being one of the fastest growing parishes in the state, the closest dedicated Pediatric emergency department to St. Tammany Parish is approximately an hour away – a nearly 50-mile drive. Imagine taking a trip of that duration with a sick child who is in urgent need of medical care.
- Most Pediatric subspecialists who care for our children with special health needs are equally as far away or only see children on the Northshore once or twice a month.
- There is currently a relative shortage of Pediatric subspecialists in general. This means that when a child is diagnosed with a new chronic medical condition or simply needs routine care for an existing condition, the wait time to get an appointment can be staggering. For example, it is routine for my patients with newly diagnosed conditions to have to wait 3 to 4 weeks just to have an initial evaluation with a subspecialist. This could include children with migraines, skin conditions or developmental concerns. As you can understand, this can be an eternity to a family with a sick child.
My intention in sharing these concerns with you is not to alarm but to inform. STPH is a world-class medical facility fully prepared to address a number of pediatric emergencies, but our specialized care only goes so far. As a local pediatrician and father of two children myself, it concerns me that in an area that has so much to offer our kids educationally and recreationally, we haven’t fully satisfied our obligation to their potential medical needs. As our community enjoys the explosion of growth that provides us with beautiful new venues to shop and eat, it seems only fitting that someone provide us with a means to better care for the future that is our children.
St. Tammany Parish Hospital has once again fulfilled its role as a community hospital by taking the lead in the fight for the wellbeing of our children. Planning has begun to enhance and advance our existing pediatric program making STPH the cornerstone of future pediatric care in our parish. To accomplish this vital goal for our shared community, I am asking for your generosity and support.
Will you please consider a tax-deductible gift to the St. Tammany Hospital Foundation? Our hospital is a private, not-for-profit community hospital that receives no tax funding. Every gift from every individual is vital to ensure success. Help us continue to deliver a nurturing, healing environment to all members of our community by making the commitment to grow STPH’s pediatric services as well as the programs and pediatric specialists associated with them. Together, we can ensure that even our smallest patients receive seamless, world-class healthcare close to home.
I thank you in advance, not only on behalf of my family, but also on behalf of all the families that I have the privilege to help care for in this community. Your gift can and will make a difference in lives impacted daily within the walls of St. Tammany Parish Hospital. Because of your generosity, know that STPH will continue to be there for you, your family, and friends and for each of us when we most need it.
Robert Faucheux, M.D.
Pediatrics Committee Chairman
St. Tammany Parish Hospital
To make a donation to the St. Tammany Hospital Foundation, click here.