When Ariana was a newborn, her mom, Nancy, noticed that her head looked long and narrow. The Union County mom shared her concerns with Ariana’s pediatrician, who referred her to a pediatric neurologist. However, Nancy was unable to get an appointment as soon as she had hoped. “I was desperate,” she says. “I needed answers.”
The Right Diagnosis
Nancy turned to Lawrence Daniels, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Through computed tomography (CT) imaging, Dr. Daniels, who is also part of The Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore, discovered that Ariana had craniosynostosis.
This is a birth defect in which one or more sutures, the fibrous bands of tissue that connect the bones of the skull, close too early.
“Ariana had the most common type of craniosynostosis, which affects the suture running along the top of the head, from front to back,” Dr. Daniels says. “The early closing of this suture, before the brain fully forms, causes the baby to have a long and narrow skull and a broad forehead.” Untreated craniosynostosis can lead to increased pressure on the brain and developmental delays.
Ariana’s condition was severe and required action. Dr. Daniels felt the best treatment was cranial vault remodeling. This specialized surgery, performed jointly by a pediatric neurosurgeon and a pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon, reshapes the skull to correct the condition and enable the brain to grow normally.
An Expert Team
For Ariana’s surgery, Dr. Daniels worked with Francesco Gargano, M.D., a pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital. Both specialize in surgery for complex craniofacial abnormalities.
The Children’s Hospital takes a multidisciplinary approach to craniofacial surgery that involves neurosurgeons, craniofacial plastic surgeons, neurologists, geneticists, orthodontists, speech pathologists, nurses, social workers and child-life specialists.
Message from the President
As the region’s first and most comprehensive provider of pediatric care, the team at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital is continuously looking at ways to better serve the youngest members of our community. The addition of talented physicians has expanded the expertise at the medical center, such as pediatric palliative care expert Heather Grossmann, M.D., who is dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting medical conditions and strives to provide pain management and improve quality of life.
Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP President, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital
Expanded Pediatric Emergency Care
Committed to providing access to care when and where families need it the most, we expanded our hours for the Pediatric Emergency Department to provide specialized children’s services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Integration Fuels Expansion for Sub-Specialties
One of the exciting benefits of our expanded health network is the development of clinically integrated programs, where expertise from one medical center can expand to sister hospitals and enhance the resources available within various communities.
In 2017, we made great strides in expanding the pediatric sub-specialty services offered through K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital with the addition of two full-time pediatric hematologist/oncologists and a part-time pediatric nephrologist. The groundwork was also established to have pediatric rheumatology and genetics experts from the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center see patients in Neptune beginning in 2018.
Likewise, Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s pediatric expertise expanded to the north. Specialty care professionals in the areas of neurology, pulmonology, community asthma, and infant apnea began seeing patients at Raritan Bay Medical Center, extending the reach of K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital to Middlesex County.
Advanced Surgical Procedures Continue to Grow
The exceptional surgeons at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital continue to bring innovative care to our local community. Pediatric surgeon Victoria Staab, M.D., performed the medical center’s first newborn minimally invasive lung resection.
Using extremely small surgical equipment that is specially designed for newborns, Dr. Staab removed a portion of lung from a two-month-old using delicate laparoscopic techniques and enabling the child to live a healthy, normal lifestyle. Likewise, pediatric neurosurgeon Lawrence Daniels, M.D., and pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon Francesco Gargano, M.D., performed the medical center’s first cranial vault remodeling procedure. The complex procedure removed part of the skull of a four-month-old diagnosed with craniosynostosis. The doctors successfully repositioned the bones and reshaped the skull to enable the brain to grow normally. Our pediatric specialists performed some extraordinary procedures in 2017, demonstrating that a supportive team, talented physicians, and advanced technology are elevating surgical services to a new level at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Breathing Easier through Pediatric Asthma Program
In 2017, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital received funds from the Nicholson Foundation to support and expand the pediatric asthma program. The Community Outreach for Asthma Care and Health (COACH) Program aims to reach the poorest of New Jersey’s children and their families who are dealing with asthma.
The hospital is one of four sites funded by the private philanthropic organization, where health workers visit homes to reinforce doctors’ instructions about using inhalers and spacers. They also help to identify common asthma triggers, such as cigarette smoke, dust mites, dust and mold, and teach ways to eliminate them. The program is a great example of how our care team is dedicated to prevention and wellness for our community members in order to avoid more complex health issues or hospitalizations from occurring.
Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP
Jersey Shore University Medical Center
K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital
Kim Carpenter, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Vice President, Operations
David S. Kountz, M.D.
Vice President, Academic Affairs
Donna Ciufo, DNP, R.N., FNP-BC, NE-BC, CCRN
Vice President Nursing, Chief Nurse Executive
W. Timothy Foley
Vice President, Clinical Services & Business Development
Women’s and Children’s Services
Steven Kairys, M.D
Medical Staff Leadership
Brian S. Erler, M.D.
Glenn S Parker, M.D.
Eric Costanzo, D.O.
Andrew Blechman, M.D.