CU4Kids Donates $5M to Enhance Child Heart Surgery Safety at Doernbecher
Merging the pediatric operating room and cardiac catheterization lab into a state-of-the-art operating suite will make heart surgery safer and more efficient for vulnerable patients.
Credit Unions for Kids — a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions and business partners from across the country — has pledged $5 million to create a new hybrid operating suite at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The expansion supports Doernbecher’s delivery of the most innovative, life-saving pediatric cardiac care in the region.
The hybrid operating suite will merge two services currently located on opposite sides of Doernbecher and OHSU: the pediatric operating room and the cardiac catheterization lab, where heart diagnostics and treatment are performed. By uniting these services, surgeons and interventional cardiologists can perform multiple or complex procedures together, in one setting, without adding risk and spending precious minutes in transport.
The comprehensive new suite on the eighth floor of Doernbecher will be essential in caring for patients across the region who are experiencing high-level trauma and the rarest types of disease.
On the Saturday before Easter, 8-month-old baby girl Blakely was airlifted to Doernbecher with a life-threatening condition known as abdominal aortic aneurysm, a ballooning of the lower part of the aorta that runs through the abdomen. The condition, usually seen in older adults, is exceptionally rare in children and must be treated immediately to avoid life-threatening internal bleeding.
Doernbecher’s pediatric cardiologists and surgeons spent over seven hours in the operating room to provide Blakely with life-saving cardiovascular surgery. Following the successful operation, the team completed several tests to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels and to ensure there were no blockages or bleeding and determine that she was strong enough to be discharged following surgery. Today, Blakely has recovered and is happy and healthy at home.
“Building a Hybrid Operating Room (OR) will ensure that we can instantly deliver the most innovative, life-saving care to our most fragile patients,” said Dana A. Braner, M.D., physician-in-chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and professor and Credit Unions for Kids Chair of Pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine. “OHSU is the only academic medical center between Seattle and San Francisco, which means families from all over the region count on us to provide the top-quality care. It’s essential that we continue to build our capacity to care for children with the most complex and urgent heart conditions. This project, and the generous support provided by Credit Unions for Kids, is a critical step towards that goal.”
For more than 30 years, Credit Unions for Kids has stood among OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s most steadfast philanthropic partners. Prior to their leadership pledge of $5 million to support the hybrid OR, Credit Unions for Kids had generously raised nearly $19 million for Doernbecher’s most pressing priorities in clinical care, faculty support, research and community outreach.
“This philanthropic investment will dramatically elevate the quality and safety of cardiac care for Doernbecher patients,” said Seth Schaefer, president and CEO at Rivermark Community Credit Union and co-chair of the Credit Unions for Kids Advisory Group. “Credit Unions for Kids has had a long history of serving families in our community and we’re thrilled to be able to make this significant investment in the health of these children.”