Neurosciences at WVU Children’s Hospital at Ruby Memorial: Progressive Care for Developing Minds

By: Jennifer Webster
Monday, July 21, 2014
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Pediatric neurology providers at WVU Healthcare understand the unique needs 
of West Virginia patients.

Offering a comprehensive service line, WVU Children’s pediatric neurology specialists treat conditions including cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, epilepsy, headaches, neuromuscular and movement disorders, spasticity, stroke, and complications resulting from premature birth. In a variety of multidisciplinary clinics, pediatric neurology providers team up with experts from other specialties to offer the full spectrum of care for children who have ongoing or extensive neurological needs.

“We practice general and specialty pediatric neurology,” says Paola Pergami, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Neurology at WVU Healthcare. “We offer a comprehensive epilepsy center, including an inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit. We also work closely with our Neurosurgery Department.”

Dr. Pergami, the only specialist in children’s stroke in West Virginia, collaborates with other specialists in The Joint Commission-certified WVU Stroke Center. Partners include radiologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, physical therapists and family support services.

“We have a monthly neuromuscular clinic for children with muscular dystrophy,” she says. “Another multidisciplinary clinic for children with cerebral palsy and spasticity involves neurosurgery and physical therapy.”

Care Specific to Regional Patients

The physicians and other providers at WVU Children’s have a deep understanding of the distinctive needs of West Virginia’s children and youth. Often, says Dr. Pergami, she and other WVU specialists work closely with families, schools and local providers to coordinate care.

“Many of our children live in very remote areas, and we cannot send them home without considering the next steps in their treatment,” she says. “For instance, we have to send medicines with them to allow extra time for the local pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. In terms of physical therapy and rehabilitation, a therapist may serve many schools, visiting each only every two weeks. Our nurses take on a lot of the work interacting with local organizations and doing what is necessary for our patients and their families.”

Tackling the Complexities of Pediatric Neurosurgery

Dr Serrano With Patient 250

Hydrocephalus, trauma, tumors and congenital problems such as Chiari malformations are among the most common conditions neurosurgeons at WVU Healthcare treat, says Cesar A. Serrano, MD, FRCS, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at WVU.

“Pediatric neurosurgery is unique, first, because we have an important social impact,” he says. “We are working to improve the health of patients who have, statistically speaking, a lot of life ahead of them. We need to do everything we can to help those children grow into capable adults. Second, we must be extremely meticulous in our procedures. Our job is very rewarding because our patients recover quickly and we see dramatic changes in a very short time.”

Children in need of neurosurgery do not need to visit providers out of state, Dr. Serrano says. Expert care for all pediatric neurosurgery needs can be found in Morgantown.

“We are experienced in all areas of pediatric neurosurgery,” he says. “Local referrals benefit patients and families, as they are able to stay close to home. We are also able to improve medical care for the next generation of patients. Our residents learn from expert faculty and gain experience with the most advanced neurosurgical cases and treatments, thus providing a higher level of care. We are a friendly hospital, and we do all we can to improve the lives of everyone in the state.”

To learn more about Pediatric Neurosciences at WVU Children’s, visit wvukids.com. To refer a patient, call 800-WVA-MARS.