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During the middle of an intricate brain surgery, neurosurgeon John Honeycutt, M.D., takes a moment to consult with attending neurologists Warren Marks, M.D., and Fernando Acosta, M.D. The three discuss the operation and decide, together, how best to proceed.
This kind of collaboration is the norm with the Neurosciences team at Cook Children's Medical Center, whether it's asking a colleague to stop by and give an opinion on an X-ray or discussing a complex surgery before, during and after it takes place.
According to Dr. Honeycutt, the connection between neurologists and neurosurgeons makes Cook Children's unique. He calls the working relationship at Cook Children's "unbelievable" and a completely new experience for him.
The Neurosciences program at Cook Children's treats everything from headaches and behavioral problems to epileptic seizures and brain tumors. The program enlists the talents of such experts as neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses and nurse practitioners, psychologists, electroencephalography (EEG) technologists, medical assistants and administrative staff. In complex surgeries, Child Life specialists help provide emotional support to patients. But what sets this dynamic group apart from other neuroscience departments is its collegiality.
"We're a diverse group of physicians, born and trained in different places," says Medical Director of Neurology Howard Kelfer, M.D. "This unique collaborative setting allows us to exchange information and ideas about how best to treat our patients, who are our number-one priority. We all care for and respect one another, and this creates an exceptional working environment."
"Because of the extraordinary collaborative effort they provide, I know when I refer a patient to the Cook Children's Neurosciences program, I am placing that child in hands that will provide the absolute highest quality of care--and that gives me peace of mind," says referring physician Karen Kemper, M.D, from Waco.
Few organizations in the country have a neuromuscular and movement disorders program equal to Cook Children's, according to Dr. Acosta. He says, "With our strategic collaboration and the resources available at Cook Children's, I think we are one of the top centers in the country for pediatric movement disorders."
The multidisciplinary approach at Cook Children's is a draw for Dr. Marks, who often works directly with rehabilitation therapists, orthotists, neurosurgeons and orthopedists. He has developed several multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams, including the transitional care unit, and specialized multidisciplinary clinics serve children with spasticity and movement and neuromuscular disorders.
"We are doing as much as anybody and more than most in the country when it comes to improving children's lives," he says. "We continue to expand our offerings. We continue to push the limits of treatment. In the future we will have the ability to treat more children and more complex neurological diseases and make them even better. I'm really excited about our ability to bring these new and innovative approaches to solving some very complex issues."
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