KU Pediatrics creates clinics to provide local care for kids
January 19, 2016
By Brian Whepley
Two specialty clinics operated by the KU School of Medicine-Wichita's Department of Pediatrics are filling regional gaps in care for young patients with asthma and metabolic conditions, providing not only diagnosis and treatment but also saving families from having to travel out of town for care.
Dr. Sid Sivamurthy, KU Wichita Pediatrics assistant professor, nurse Julie Wellner and dietitian Charlotte Buchanan, are expanding an existing clinic for children with PKU deficiency (a rare genetic condition) adding three other metabolic conditions and televideo consultations with a metabolic geneticist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
The televideo link expands on existing consults with Arkansas geneticists and Shobana Kubendran, genetic counselor and KU School of Medicine-Wichita faculty member.
Sivamurthy also began a weekly asthma clinic three years ago to respond to a need he and colleagues saw for helping patients better understand and manage the condition.
"Some patients should still travel elsewhere for expert care," Sivamurthy said. "But many cases can now be treated in Wichita. I just kept thinking how much easier it would be for families if we could partner with Arkansas to handle these cases locally."
"It's hard enough to look after healthy children. With a special needs child, the time and burden involved increases exponentially."
Dr. Brian Pate, chair of KU Wichita Pediatrics, said the clinics and the initiative behind them show the commitment doctors and staff have to patient care.
"This is a result of this department's sense of accountability to the kids in our region," Pate said. "Our docs are driven to find solutions for patients' needs."
That has paid dividends, Pate said. Having the metabolic clinic has helped attract a metabolic geneticist to Wichita. The hiring process is underway, but the hope is for the doctor to start work this summer.
"If we hadn't had the building blocks in place, we wouldn't have had a chance of attracting a metabolic geneticist, "Pate said.