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Kristen Carroll with patient in wheelchair

Pediatric Specialty Care in Salt Lake City

male limb deficiency patient holding basketball on court

Gifts of all kinds help Shriners Children’s Salt Lake City Provide the Most Amazing Care Anywhere

About Shriners Children's Salt Lake City

Located in the Greater Avenues neighborhood and affiliated with the University of Utah Orthopaedic Department, our experienced care team brings hope and healing. We're driven to make lives richer, easier and less complex for children and families in Utah and beyond.

Specialty Care Provided at Salt Lake City

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.

Shriners Hospitals for Children - Salt Lake City

Meet some of our healthcare heroes in this six minute virtual tour of Shriners Hospitals for Children— Salt Lake City!
View Transcript

Theresa Hennessey:

Well, Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City really has a amazing history in pediatric orthopedics.

Kevin Martin:

We are a pediatric orthopedic specialty hospital, serving children from 18 years of age and younger who have orthopedic needs.

Theresa Hennessey:

We have a tradition of taking care of children here and have attracted the most difficult cases.

Kristen Carroll:

It is our honor to take care of children from complex to simple to in-between problems in orthopedics and involve multi-specialty care for them that involves not only expert medical care, but therapy care, [inaudible 00:00:44] seeding care, orthotics, and prosthetics care.

Theresa Hennessey:

Because we have so much experience and because we treat so many patients with really rare conditions, we can offer so many more options and offer families and children hope.

Gail McGuill:

Our patients and families tell us that they have a wonderful experience when they come to Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Kevin Martin:

We provide multi-specialty clinics where patients can come and see actually several different physicians during one appointment.

Theresa Hennessey:

If you come in and you need a brace, or you need a thesis or you need surgery, I can talk to the family, the nurses talk to the families about what to expect in scheduling surgery. I can call my orthotics guy and say, "Come over here, look at this with me." We go over it together. We figure out what's not working or what we want to do. It's all right here in the same building and we all talk to each other every day. We lunch together. We are truly a team that is focused on the child.

Gail McGuill:

The entire team works really well together to get that optimum care for the child so that they have the best outcome that they can have.

Kristen Carroll:

We have an exceptional wheelchair and seating department here. People come from all over the Intermountain West, and frankly all over the country. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about our seating department is the fact that if somebody outgrows a wheelchair, they bring it back. We refurbish that wheelchair and hopefully give it to the next kid. It really creates a community feel amongst not only our seating department but our seating patients, which is the most important thing.

Theresa Hennessey:

One of the really exciting things we have here is what we call the EOS machine. The EOS machine is kind of like a phone booth, but you stand in and an x-ray is taken. It's an x-ray that gives us more information than any other series of x-rays we can take in one shot. It does it with half the radiation and in some cases up to 90% less radiation and still gives us more information than we could get before. It's on the forefront of technology and what we do in pediatric orthopedics.

Kristen Carroll:

Our prosthetic orthotics department is probably our most fun department here. They are a wonderful group of people who will do anything to make sure that the orthotics fit comfortably on our children, and that the prosthetics are state-of-the-art and exactly what the child needs. I think one thing that we do that's very unique is if we operate on a child's foot, often the prosthetic orthotics department will come into the operating room, mold that child for their new orthotic. Then when that cast comes off four to six weeks later, that orthotic is ready to roll. We don't have an interim step where that kid has to wait two to three weeks to start their therapy. We're able to start it right away.

Our therapy department is very rich here. We have physical therapy, we have occupational therapy and we have speech therapy as well that helps us not only with children with speech issues but also with swallowing issues. Therapists use the recommendations from the gait lab, as well as from the clinic and the operating room to help make sure that every child reaches their full potential.

Bruce MacWilliams:

The Shriners Hospitals for Salt Lake City Movement Analysis Laboratory is one of just currently nine accredited laboratories in the United States.

Kristen Carroll:

Not every Shriners Hospital has a gait lab, and certainly not every hospital. The gait lab gives you a very moment-by-moment analysis of how the child's muscle and skeleton is functioning as they move through space.

Theresa Hennessey:

I think that what gets lost in medicine today is why we're doing it.

Kristen Carroll:

There are certainly systems out there where if things cost too much, they may be disallowed for the patient. That's never the case here.

Kevin Martin:

That's really what we're here for is to make sure that no one gets turned away. We don't ask about finances upfront to determine whether or not they're going to be seen.

Kristen Carroll:

We are doing this because we love kids. All of us are in it because we really believe in the mission of giving a child superb care, regardless of a child's ability to pay.

Stephanie Dahl:

I genuinely believe that's the philosophy of everyone here, is that they love these kids. They want to do the best for them, and they're willing to give it their all, and they do.

Kevin Martin:

Kids who come here view this as a life experience, not a one-time event because when they come here, they become part of our family.

Jon Guss:

You always feel like in this hospital, there's a happy ending.

Stephanie Dahl:

It's all because of Shriners that brought them to this point where they're healthy and happy and beautiful.


Motion Analysis Center is a Rarity in the Intermountain West

This comprehensive gait study lab in Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City allows our experts to get a full picture of how children move, informing treatment decisions better than ever!
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Kristen Carroll:

Not every Shrines Hospital has a Gait Lab, and certainly not every hospital.

Bruce MacWilliams:

The Shriners Hospitals for Salt Lake City Movement Analysis Laboratory is one of just currently nine accredited laboratories in the United States. 

Kristen Carroll:

The Gait Lab gives you a very moment by moment analysis of how the child's muscle and skeleton is functioning as they move through space.

Bruce MacWilliams:

We put instruments on the body, on certain landmarks, reflective markers, and also electrodes. And there are cameras around the room, which look at the markers as the child walks. And then we are able to distill that information, using a computer model to look at what the hips, the knees, and the ankles, as well as different segments are doing when the child walks. We take that information and then we compare it to children who don't have any problems. And we can understand where the deviations are.

Kristen Carroll:

And this specialized amount of analysis that the Gait Lab can give us, gives us much better recommendations for surgery, making our surgery outcomes far more superior than if we didn't have that skill, as well as it helps us with physical therapy recommendations, helping us know where a child is weak, where they're strong, where they're tight. All those things help us make very specialized and individualized care for each child based on their Gait Lab analysis. 

Kathia Arreaga:

He's aware of why he's coming. I mean, we talk about that he has, I mean, why we going to Shriners? And we have done Gait Labs that has helped us. They told us that he was going to be in a wheelchair, I mean, for the rest of his life, because he was losing his mobility. But because all the help and the surgeries, and everything that we have done, he's definitely defying the odds. And he's walking and he's thriving. He's doing great. Everything is started with Shriners, with the first surgery, and here we are four years later,


Surgery Services at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City has a tradition of taking care of children with some of the most difficult pediatric orthopaedic conditions.
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Kristen Carroll, MD:

At Shriner's Hospital For Children, Salt Lake City, we do about 1,200 surgeries a year.

Theresa Hennessey, MD:

We have a tradition of taking care of children here and have attracted the most difficult cases.

Kristen Carroll, MD:

Certainly our most common surgeries are those that involve spine surgery, either infantile scoliosis with casting or scoliosis secondary to neuromuscular disease or idiopathic disease.

In addition, we do a lot of neuromuscular work on children with cerebral palsy. We also have a superb complex hip reconstruction surgeon and many of us are doing what are called osteotomies, cutting the bone to realign it, or make it a better joint or a better limb, after surgery.

Gail McGuill, RN:

So before your child comes to the hospital for surgery, the entire team will have met together, led by the registered nurse care manager, with the involvement of a physical therapist, our pharmacists and other members of the care delivery team, so that we can have a specific plan just for each child.

Kristen Carroll, MD:

When we tell a child and their family, we think you need surgery, we really do. It isn't that anybody's making money off of that surgery. So when we say we really think your child needs it, it's a wonderful level of trust with the family and they're like, "Okay." So from the get-go, they're invested and realize there isn't a conflict of interest between the surgeon and the procedure.

Theresa Hennessey, MD:

The parents never feel that they're in the dark. The parents never feel that they're not getting information or can't ask the questions they want to ask. We want to be asked the questions and we want to explain it because if they're on board with everything we're doing, the treatment's going to be more successful for the child.

Stephanie Dahl:

I genuinely believe that that's the philosophy of everyone here, is that they love these kids. They want to do the best for them and the least invasive possible but they're willing to give it their all and they do.


Alissa's Story

Alissa Sizemore's life is changed after an accident and wonders if she'll ever be able to dance again. Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City answers her question.
View Transcript

Alyssa:

My leg is a little bit difficult because mine's metal instead of this.

Heather:

Last year, Alyssa was in an accident with a delivery truck. It severed her foot. We got life-flighted out here to Primary's. Her surgeon was Dr. Heflin. He was able to save most of her leg, and finish the amputation below the knee.

Dr. John Heflin:

Following the injury, clearly she was going to need some sort of orthotic type care. And so I referred her actually over here to Shriners Hospital. The prosthetics and orthotics department here is fantastic for all comers. But she had a very special situation in that she had an unusual amputation. The orthotics and prosthetics team here were able to actually build her a prosthesis that protected the skin graft. And ultimately she was able to go on and heal it completely.

Nate Sprunger:

When I first met Alyssa, she had just had the amputation, the accident had just happened. She was very timid and scared. So I kind of sat down and talked to her, and I asked her what she wanted to do, or what she did. All she wanted do was dance. So I told her it might take some time, but we would get her back dancing.

Alyssa:

When I was at Primary Children's, I didn't think I was going to dance again. But then when I was here, and got my leg, I knew I was going to be able to dance again.

Nate Sprunger:

So when we start seeing these kids, we develop a relationship with them. Normally, that will last through their 21st birthday, every six months to a year, depending on how fast they grow, and whether they need a new leg or just an adjustment.

Alyssa:

When I usually come and meet with Nate, we goof around. He usually adjusts his ankle piece, takes it back and walks on it. And then he makes me walk. And then he makes me run. Then we did first cartwheel competition. 

Nate Sprunger:

I have to go first. All right. 

Alyssa:

Hey, that was perfect than me. 

Nate Sprunger:

Mine was little bit more graceful. 

Alyssa:

When you go up stairs, it's not like a normal hospital, there was a play area. And then when you walk, there's Sully and his partner, so it's fun.

Heather:

It's took time and she's learned new ways of doing things. But it's just like precious to still be able to watch her go and ride her bike, and have fun with her friends, and go back dancing. It's just overwhelming joy that it hasn't held her back or stopped her because of the help that Shriners has been able to give us.

Nate Sprunger:

The most rewarding part of the job is when you see that child, like Alyssa, take her first steps after she's been in the hospital, and undergone all these surgeries and her rehabilitation. And I get to be there when she gets her life back.


Ever Wondered What it Would Mean to be a Patient Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children?

Enjoy this sizzle reel from some of the fun things the Salt Lake City Shriners Hospitals for Children patient ambassadors have done! Email SLCPR@shrinenet.org to learn more about the patient ambassador program.
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

(singing)

Speaker 2:

So yes, this was detected when I was six months old. And because of that early detection, it saved my life.

Speaker 1:

(singing)

6:5
Shriners Hospitals for Children - Salt Lake City
2:4
Motion Analysis Center is a Rarity in the Intermountain West
2:17
Surgery Services at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City
3:15
Alissa's Story
1:55
Ever Wondered What it Would Mean to be a Patient Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children?

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