All posts by CHOC Children's

Dr. Goodman is my Hero

By Choco Bear

The other day I witnessed my dear friend Dr. Gary Goodman hard at work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on our Mission Viejo campus (CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital), where he is the Medical Director of the PICU.  His team takes care of the most critically ill and injured kids – an incredible responsibility.  Seeing Dr. Goodman in action, delivering high-quality, family-centered care reminded me of his recent honor of being named a 2008 Hospital Hero by the Hospital Association of Southern California.

In addition to his work inside the hospital, Dr. Goodman lends his expertise, time and voice to education and prevention efforts in Orange County and beyond.  He contributed to the development of CHOC’s drowning prevention video “Three Tragic Seconds – Time to Make a Difference” and was a speaker at the 2008 National Drowning Prevention Symposium.  In the area of traumatic brain injury, Dr. Goodman is the only pediatric representative on a multidisciplinary team that developed a comprehensive traumatic brain injury protocol, which has dramatically reduced morbidity and mortality from traumatic brain injury in children.  On a national level, he is the only pediatric subspecialist participating in the Adam Williams Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, which trains hospitals all over the country to improve treatment for traumatic brain injuries.

Now you can see why he is a 2008 Hospital Hero.  (He’s always been one of mine.)

Autism Event Offers Latest Information for OC Families

Did you know that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability that affects 1 in 150 births. The condition is caused by a neurological disorder that affects brain function – impacting the normal development of the brain that controls social interaction and communication skills. CHOC and UCI Medical Center are leaders in the diagnosis and management of autism through a collaborative, state-funded program known as “For OC Kids.” The program allows experts from both CHOC and UCI Medical Center to take an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to children with autism, offering patients access to the latest alternatives.  

CHOC and UCI, joined by the Grandparent Autism Network, are combining forces to bring an autism event “Today’s Autism Research”  Tomorrow’s Promising Outcomes” to Orange County on Saturday, January 31st, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Mariner’s Church in Irvine.  The event will feature the latest research information and some of the top autism experts. 

For more information or to register, visit

Healthy Eating Habits for the New Year

I am the first to admit I indulge in sweet honey every now and again, but I am determined to eat better in the New Year and encourage parents to teach their kids about healthy eating habits.  Here are some simple tips, provided to me by one of our pediatricians, to get you started:

  • A child’s food portion is much smaller than that of an adult.  One kid serving should be about the size of your child’s fist.
  • Keep an eye on portion sizes for pretzels, popcorn and crackers, since the salt in these snacks can stimulate the appetite.
  • Instead of granola or energy bars, give your kids fruit slices, vegetables or string cheese.
  • When your children insist on cookies, chips or candy, give them the 100-calorie packs of their favorite snacks.
  • When it comes to soda, it’s best to “can” the stuff.  Did you know that one 12-ounce soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories, far exceeding your child’s recommended daily limit.  You can’t go wrong with milk or water.

I sure hope these simple tips will help get you and your family off to a healthier 2009!

CHOC Becomes First in the World to Use RIVA

Here’s another exciting first for CHOC and just one more example of the hospital’s commitment to patient safety and excellence:  We recently became the first in the world to prepare patient doses using RIVA (robotic intravenous automation), a self-contained robotic unit for filling IV syringes and bags.  This is one cool robot that helps reduce medication errors and allows our very talented pharmacists to spend even more time in clinical practice — also benefiting our young patients!


Put Children’s Safety on Top of Holiday Wish List

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and the health and well being of children top my wish list.  The injury prevention experts in CHOC’s Community Education Department tell me that the holiday season can be a dangerous time for kids.  Routines are interrupted, new hazards are introduced into the home, and parents are often distracted by the hustle and bustle of this time of year.  Here are a few helpful tips that I want to pass along to all moms, dads and caregivers to help keep the ‘jingle’ in the holiday season:

  • When baking your yummy goodies, be sure to keep ingredients, like vanilla and almond extract, out of children’s reach.  It’s also a good idea to keep those round hard foods and candies out of kids’ reach.
  • Keep a close eye on kids in the kitchen.
  • Make sure alcoholic beverages are out of reach of your little ones.
  • Avoid putting fragile ornaments, especially those with small detachable parts or metal hooks, on the lower branches of the Christmas tree and don’t use ornaments that look like food or candy.
  • Watch for holly and mistletoe berries that may have fallen into your child’s path; they are very poisonous.  Poinsettias are not poisonous but can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress if digested.
  • Keep guests’ purses away from curious little ones.
  • Supervise children around the fireplace and those festive candles.

Hope you and your loves ones enjoy a magical – and safe holiday!