CHOC Recognized as Leader in Critical Care

CHOC Children’s has again been recognized by an international consortium for its excellence in extracorporeal life support (ECLS), a special procedure that takes over the heart’s pumping function and the lungs’ oxygen exchange until a patient can recover from injury or illness.

The platinum-level Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Award of Excellence in Life Support recognizes programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having evidence-based processes, procedures and systems in place that promote excellence in ECLS. As a recipient of a platinum designation, CHOC is among the highest scoring institutions.


As an award recipient, CHOC has also earned another three-year designationas an ELSO Center of Excellence. CHOC is the only Orange County hospital offering ECLS, also known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

“This award validates CHOC’s efforts and commitment to providing exceptional, state-of-the-art critical care to patients and families, and can provide families with added assurance that CHOC is the right place to receive this special type of care,” said Dr. Joanne Starr, CHOC’s ECLS director and medical director of cardiothoracic surgery.

The ELSO Award of Excellence demonstrates an assurance of high-quality standards, collaboration, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols, and advanced education of all staff members. Additionally, the award is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Parents magazine as one criterion for top institutions.

ELSO is an international consortium of health care professionals and scientists dedicated to the development and evaluation of novel therapies for support of failing organ systems.

Learn more about CHOC’s extracorporeal life support program

Related posts:


Robots Advance Telemedicine for Pediatric Patients

Dr. Knight demonstrates the RP Express, another device in CHOC’s telemedicine fleet that travels with the transport team.

Thanks to the power of telemedicine, CHOC Children’s physicians are able to remotely assess and monitor a patient from miles away.

CHOC began integrating telemedicine about seven years ago with the use of remote robots located in the Hoag Hospital Newport Beach Emergency Department, which allowed CHOC doctors to offer consultations for pediatric patients set to be transferred to CHOC, says Dr. Jason Knight, a critical care specialist and medical director of CHOC Children’s Emergency Transport Services.

CHOC is connected remotely to the robots, now also located in the emergency department at Hoag Hospital Irvine, by a control station in its pediatric intensive care unit. In addition, Dr. Knight has a control station at his home, on his laptop and on his iPad so he can communicate with the robot – and help the patient at Hoag – from a variety of locations.

Dr. Knight says both patients and their parents love the robotic concept. The robot, which is about 4 feet tall, displays a picture of the doctor’s face on the top of the device.

“The children think this technology is cool,” Dr. Knight says. “When I introduce myself via the robot as a pediatric specialist, it always puts the parents’ minds at ease because from that point forward, CHOC is involved with their child’s care.”

Related content:

  • Telemedicine
    Telemedicine, also sometimes called telehealth, is the delivery of health care services using telecommunications or electronic technology. Telemedicine can involve video and audio equipment to assess a patient remotely, patient ...
  • Watch CHOC’s Telemedicine in Action
    Thanks to CHOC Children’s telemedicine efforts, physicians can remotely care for children from miles away, or even while a patient is riding in an ambulance. In this video, Dr. Jason Knight, a ...

Caring for a Seriously Ill Child – Effect on the Family

marta-sonCaring for a seriously ill child can be a tiring and emotional process.

“Meeting your critically ill family member’s needs is a major part of care, but your needs are just as equally important,” according to CHOC Pediatric Critical Care Specialist Dr. Paul Lubinsky.

“If you are well, you have the physical and emotional strength to support your family member and feel good about it. Take time to understand your family member’s illness and treatment options. Having this information will help you make decisions, feel confident about the decisions made and reduce stress. Ask questions, ask to meet with the care team, and keep a journal. Review the journal with a member of the care team whom you trust to make sense of what has happened and how you are responding to it. Progress often is unrecognized without a definitive timeline. Participating in patient care is another way to support your family member and reduce stress. The bedside staff can suggest activities for those who want to be involved.”

Here are some more detailed suggestions and tips for parents, grandparents, relatives and others involved in the care:

  • Eat healthy.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise, take a walk or stretch your limbs periodically.
  • Seek support and accept the help and support of family and friends.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Use your faith and engage in spiritual activities, such as meditation or prayer.
  • Read inspirational material.
  • Keep a journal of thoughts and feelings about your child’s progress.
  • Ask a family member or close friend to take messages or to be a representative for you.
  • Organize a network to help with the activities of daily living. Make sure someone looks after your house and pets, and checks your mail and phone messages when you are not at home.

The illness of a child can also affect others in the family, especially siblings. Here are some things to look for or consider with them, so you can reach out for help and develop strategies to deal with any issues that may arise:

  • Children in the family may feel responsible for a sibling’s illness because they had a sibling rivalry or there were tensions between the children in the past. There are a variety of therapists at the hospital available to help.
  • The other children may feel ignored or that you are favoring the sibling who is ill by spending so much time in the hospital.
  • Children may act out or may regress, such as losing bladder control.
  • School performance due to a prolonged disruption in family life.
  • Appoint spokespeople to provide accurate updates or start a blog to keep extended family or close friends informed.

Addressing these issues with the help of a specially trained psychologist or child life specialist, is often helpful. Family therapy may also help in dealing with the stresses of a seriously ill child. CHOC has a strong psychology department that can help, Dr. Lubinsky says.

Splash Course: Kids and Drowning

This article was featured in the Orange County Register on August 12, 2013 and was written by Shaleek Wilson. View the full feature article and more at

CHOC_08-13-2013_drowning_halfBathtubs and Buckets

A common misconception about drowning is that kids are only in danger in big bodies of water. Not true. It only takes 1 inch of water for a child to drown, making common household containers like buckets, bathtubs and large pet water bowls a hazard.

To Avoid a Life-Threatening Incident, Make the Following a Habit:

  • Never leave a child alone in the bathroom, not even for a minute
  • Empty containers with liquids
  • Close bathroom doors and install child-proof door locks
  • Keep toilet seats closed or locked

Water Safety 101

When school is out, there’s nothing children love more than to splash around in the pool. But before the fun begins, safety should come first. “If you’re a parent, you need to be trained in CPR,” says Dr. Anas. Whenever your child is in the water, assign a “Water Watcher,” to monitor the water and the child.

Floaties and Fences

Flotation devices are not a substitute for watchful eyes. If a child cannot swim, they’re at risk for drowning, says Dr. Anas. More than 1,000 children die each year from unintentional drownings.

Pool owner safety:

  • Install a four-sided, non-climbable fence with self-latching gate
  • Use pool covers; power-operated options are best
  • Alarm doors and windows leading to pool

Look Out!

Known as the “silent killer,” drowning happens quietly, quickly, and usually out of sight. When your child is in the water, someone should always be assigned to watch. “What frequently happens is someone watching a child gets distracted and the child wanders off into the pool,” says Dr. Anas. “By the time the caretaker notices, it’s too late.” Make sure you and your child’s caregiver are aware of potential pool hazards.

Fast Facts

  • The time it takes for a child to lose consciousness after water submersion: 120 Seconds
  • Percentage of drowning victims who are out of their caregiver’s sight for 5 minutes or less: 75%
  • Percentage of children who drowned aged 4 and younger: 46%


Dr. Nick Anas
Dr. Nick Anas
CHOC Children”s Pediatrician-in-Chief


Dr. Anas is CHOC’s Pediatrician-in-Chief. He serves as clinical Professor for Pediatrics for the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles and as Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics, at UCI School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship at the University of Rochester in Pediatric Pulmonology and Critical Care. Dr. Anas’ philosophy of care: “There’s no place for ‘good’ or ‘average’ care. Families in our community have to be able to go to sleep at night knowing their children are safe.”

West Virginia University School of Medicine

Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Pulmonology

More about Dr. Anas


Learn more about Drowning Prevention and Emergency Services at CHOC Children’s.