Niswonger, Shriners announce partnership for pediatric orthopedic care

Zach Vance • Updated Oct 6, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Courtney Wampler once had to travel from her Mountain City home to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for her 4-year-old son to receive orthopaedic care for a rare condition.

That condition, thrombocytopenia absent radium, “basically means he doesn’t make platelets like you guys do and that he has limb differences,” she said. “The upper limbs are pretty obvious. The lower limb differences are that he doesn’t have most of his major tendons and doesn’t have a kneecap. His major bones are also twisted.”

Wampler said once every six months or so, her family would travel north for six hours, which became became costly due to transportation and overnight stays.

But those trips will no longer be necessary.

On Thursday, nearly a hundred Shriners and Mountain States Health Alliance officials gathered on the hospital’s front lawn to announce that Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children are partnering to bring more pediatric orthopaedic care options to Johnson City.

“Having this here is going to lighten our load. Not only is all of Trae’s care going to be in one place, but I can come here for the day, get all of his needs met and then go back home and sleep in our own beds,” Wampler said during the announcement before the crowd erupted in applause.

“We are just super excited for all of your support, not only for Trae, but for all of the children in this region.” she continued. “There are children who have more significant differences than Trae that (need) to have a lot more care. Those kids are going to be able to seek the comfort of home and have their needs and care met. That’s huge, not only for us, but for all the children who have orthopaedic differences.”

This clinic will be the first in 89 years to be operated outside of a Shriners Hospitals for Children. The closest Shriner’s hospital is two hours away in Greenville, South Carolina.

“What makes this clinic special is that it is the first in the system to operate daily outside of our four walls,” sad Randy Romberger, administrator of Greenville Shriners Hospital.

Dr. Brandon Green, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, will be the first physician in the Shriners’ children orthopedics clinic inside Niswonger.

“This is a great opportunity for the families in this area. For my family and I to be able to come here and provide that care is amazing for me,” Green said.

“A lot of people don’t know ... my daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia (last year) and had to have surgery while I was in Atlanta doing my fellowships. The thing about it is, I talked to several people around here and that operation was not available.”

Green said any local children with hip dysplasia would have had to travel to Greenville or Atlanta for proper care.

“There is a spectrum of pediatric conditions that weren’t being able to be treated (here before). The majority of pediatric trauma that was here from before wasn’t able to be treated,” Green said.

Conditions such as scoliosis, hip dysplasia and limb length discrepancy were a few that can now be treated at the Shriner clinic in Niswonger, Green said.

Mountain States CEO Alan Levine said additional Shriner orthopedic physicians will be added to the Shriners clinic inside Niswongers.

“(Shriners) is planning on bringing a second one. That’s a very important piece because (Green) can’t do it all,” Levine said.

Levine said the clinic will operate similar to the partnership with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“They’ll come into the hospital for the clinic. The Shriners doctor is their doctor, but if they need hospital services or diagnostic services, they use the hospital,” Levine said.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Orthopaedics Clinic at Niswonger’s Children’s Hospital is accepting new patients. For more information, visit www.GreenvilleShrinersHospital.org or call 866-459-0013.


Email Zach Vance at [email protected] Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP

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