September COVID-19 update from leadership

Mark Scheurer, M.D., and Andrew Atz, M.D.
September 21, 2020

Dear friends,

Welcome to fall and back to school, although “back” has a different connotation this year. We trust you had a safe summer and continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. We are all in this together!

Despite new challenges, we had a productive last month. In addition to our U.S. News & World Report pediatric rankings, MUSC Children’s Health continued to strengthen our regional leadership with national recognition of our ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and BMT (blood and marrow transplant) programs.

The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital ECMO program is one of eight pediatric programs to be awarded platinum-level status for excellence in life support by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Platinum-level is the highest ECMO level that can be achieved and there are only two pediatric platinum-level programs in the southeast. The adult and pediatric BMT center received national recognition for outcomes which exceeded expected survival rates and placed us in rare company as one of six adult and pediatric programs in the country to receive this recognition. Our center ranked in the top 10% of 170 national programs annually surveyed. Both recognitions exemplify our multidisciplinary approach to holistic and innovative care of our young patients. 

We also welcomed several new pediatric faculty members to campus, including sub-specialists and pediatricians who will see patients in the Tri-county, regional and rural areas. Of the 17 new faculty members, 11 are female and seven represent minority populations. We also welcome Scott Benjamin, M.D., who is the first board-certified pediatric rehabilitation medicine specialist at MUSC. Now our families can remain closer to home for this critical aspect to recovery and independence.

The commitment to communicating COVID-19 learnings and best practices to those we serve, remains a priority. This month, our infectious diseases, cardiology and school-based health experts hosted three webinars for school administrators, families and South Carolina pediatricians. Our infectious diseases team were the first in the nation to successfully treat a patient with MIS-C, with remestemcel-L, which could impact how MIS-C patients are treated and perhaps also those with Kawasaki’s disease.

We look forward to our continued work together. There’s much to be accomplished, all under the caution of a pandemic. Be well and please be safe.

Mark Scheurer, M.D., and Andrew Atz, M.D.
MUSC Children’s Health