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Surgery Program Earns Elite Status

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CHKD named Level I Children's Surgery Center

When it comes to children, there’s no such thing as minor surgery.

Whether it’s an outpatient ear, nose, and throat procedure or major craniofacial reconstruction, safety dominates every surgical decision from start to finish at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

That’s one reason why the American College of Surgeons (ACS) recently gave CHKD its highest level of certification for pediatric surgical care.

The certification makes CHKD one of 15 pediatric surgical centers nationwide – and one of five in the East Coast region – to attain Level 1 Children’s Surgery Verification from the ACS, an organization dedicated to raising the standards of surgical care in the United States.

“We’re extremely proud to achieve this recognition,” says Dr. Robert Kelly, chief of surgery at CHKD. “It verifies, independently, that we do surgery as well as other top children’s hospitals in the country.”

To receive this prestigious certification, the hospital’s surgical program, which includes the main hospital in Norfolk and surgery centers at Concert Drive in Virginia Beach and Oyster Point in Newport News, met rigorous criteria for staffing, training, facility features, and protocols for care.

CHKD began the application process three years ago after Dr. Craig Derkay, a pediatric otolaryngologist at CHKD and a lead site surveyor for the ACS children’s surgical verification executive steering committee, recommended the hospital apply for the recognition. In addition to a lengthy application, the verification required a site visit by a team comprised of a pediatric surgeon, pediatric anesthesiologist, and pediatric nursing leader.

Reviewers were especially impressed with the collaborative leadership between surgeons and administrators, the hospital’s culture of safety, and its international leadership in treating chest wall deformities.

“Most notably, there is a strong level of commitment to providing high quality and safe surgical care to children,” the reviewers wrote in their assessment.

Much of what allows CHKD to provide exceptional surgical care occurs behind the scenes in the way surgical staff members collaborate with each other and specialists throughout the hospital. For instance, surgeons now serve as co-directors in the NICU and PICU, bolstering those units’ direct access to surgical experts. Another example is the commitment by surgical staff members to constantly assess their performance to look for ways to improve. A surgical performance improvement committee works continuously to develop better medical practices and protocols and improve outcomes.

“The Level I verification is a noteworthy achievement for our surgical program,” says Dr. Kelly. “It’s also a reflection of the full commitment of every partner on the team, and a testament to the high level of care we provide to children throughout the region.”

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