Pediatric Specialties

Safely transporting patients since 1987


Aug 11, 2021


A child’s laughter can spark great joy for all within earshot. A child’s smile can brighten even the most dismal of days and from their sweet mouths often come comments, filled with insight as they speak with simplicity from a pure heart. Children are Delightful!

As parents and caregivers, we make great efforts to guard their innocence and protect them from anything that could potentially bring harm. When a child suffers a minor injury or illness, it pains us. But when a child suffers from serious medical issues it breaks our hearts. For these children, seeking and providing care options can become one of the greatest challenges faced.

When considering care options two questions may immediately come to mind; (1) which hospital is best prepared to care for my child, and (2) how will I get my child to the hospital I have selected or that has been recommended?


U.S. News & World Report recently released the “2021-22 Best Children’s Hospitals.” My last blog focused the reader on the ten hospitals ranked at the top and named on the “Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll.”

My goal with this blog is to further break down our nation’s children’s hospitals by their demonstrated expertise in 10 specific pediatric specialties: Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology & Lung Surgery and Urology.

Though there are fifty hospitals on the full rankings list for each pediatric specialty, I will share the top three from each. Keep in mind, these rankings are just a starting point in the decision-making process. In order, and with direct links to each hospital, here is a portion of the full list:


  1. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Dana Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
  3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Cardiology & Heart Surgery

  1. Texas Children’s Hospital
  2. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  3. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Endocrinology & Diabetes

  1. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Boston Children’s Hospital
  3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

  1. Children’s Hospital Colorado
  2. Boston Children’s Hospital
  3. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


  1. Children’s National Hospital
  2. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  3. Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford


  1. Boston Children’s Hospital
  2. Seattle Children’s Hospital
  3. Texas Children’s Hospital

Neurology & Neurosurgery

  1. Boston Children’s Hospital
  2. Texas Children’s Hospital
  3. Children’s National Hospital


  1. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  2. Boston Children’s Hospital
  3. Children’s Medical Center Dallas-Scottish Rite for Children

Pulmonology & Lung Surgery

  1. Boston Children’s Hospital
  2. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  3. Texas Children’s Hospital


  1. Boston Children’s Hospital
  2. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  3. Riley Hospital for Children at UI Health

How U.S. News & World Report pulls this data together and analyzes it, is fully disclosed and available in the Best Children’s Hospitals Methodology Report.


During the process of seeking care, it may become evident that the best option lies with a hospital outside the city, or state, where you and your family live. In the case of serious injuries or illness, it may become necessary to choose a “BEST” method of transportation.

Have you considered air ambulance?

What do you think of when you hear “air ambulance”? Do the words evoke images of helicopters transporting individuals from accident scenes to the nearest hospital? Most assuredly in emergent situations, this method of air medical transportation is both critical and necessary. Another essential, within the air ambulance services industry, are fixed-wing aircraft. These planes are medically configured into intensive care units, also known as flying ICU’s.

Where helicopters travel shorter distances, fixed-wing air ambulances fly patients on long-distance transports; for example, flying neonatal & pediatric patients to centers of excellence throughout the United States.

Families must weigh many considerations when seeking care for a child, so here are some points to think about when choosing your child’s air ambulance provider:

  • Look for a provider whose flight crew and clinical team are focused on safety and the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered, neonatal & pediatric care.
  • Look for a provider who exceeds required air medical transport certification standards. Can you imagine how different it must be to care for a patient being flown thousands of feet in the air, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles -vs- on the ground, in a hospital where every resource is readily available? Therefore, you will want clinicians with not only the years of experience in critical care but also who have the added designation of flight certification; Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) and Flight Paramedic Certified (FP-C).
  • Look for a provider who partners with hospital case managers and social workers to provide a seamless, less stressful, experience for patients and their families.
  • Look for a provider with flight coordination and dispatch teams dedicated to simplifying the process and saving you time through their logistical handling of the bedside-to-bedside transfer.
  • Look for a provider with insurance specialists who will streamline the insurance process by handling the verification of benefits and preauthorization request submissions.
  • Look for a provider who is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, ready to assist day and night.



To conclude, here is a story about beautiful Bella Grace, who is celebrating her 3rd birthday on August 16th. Bella was born in Ames, Iowa. A few days after her birth, tests revealed a brain abnormality.

The hospital Bella was born in did not have the capability to treat her, so she was immediately transferred to Des Moines. The diagnosis left Bella’s grandparents heartbroken, a rare brain disorder known as Hemimegalencephaly (HME). Bella was experiencing “20-40 seizures per hour, non-stop, despite several seizure medications”.

It became obvious, quite quickly, that the medical team in Des Moines could not bring comfort to Bella’s grandparents. The initial solution proposed was not acceptable because there were serious repercussions to waiting. A family friend began to investigate solutions and came across a story about another infant, with the same rare brain disorder, who found relief from the seizures through an innovative clinical approach. The challenge then became the location of this hospital; it was over 1000 miles away at Children’s National, ranked #1 in the United States for the past 5 years, for their Neonatology program.

So, at just 8 days old beautiful Bella Grace flew her first flight, on a fixed-wing air ambulance transport to Washington, D.C. You can read this extraordinary story in its entirety by clicking on Bella’s Story.

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Written by:
Karen Derr, EMBA

Karen is the Business Development Manager at Medway Air Ambulance, heading up relationship management across the country. She specializes in engaging healthcare professionals at conferences and facility in-services from coast-to-coast. She has her Bachelor’s in Communication and an Executive MBA with an emphasis in Leadership. Karen has worked in Marketing and Relationship Management for the majority of her career, in addition to teaching college-level Marketing, Business and Management courses.