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Dr. Robert Bernstein shares the breadth of services offered at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Portland, the many specialists involved and what makes them unique among children's hospitals.

Strength in Numbers

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Melanie Cole, MS (Host): My guest today is Dr. Robert Bernstein. He’s a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the chief of staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland. Dr. Bernstein, tell us a little bit about the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children. What brought you there and tell us about some of the services available.

Robert Bernstein, M.D. (Guest): So, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland is a wonderful institution and is a hospital that provides care primarily for pediatric orthopedic problems. We take care of a lot of complex issues, such as severe spinal deformity, sports medicine, fractures. We have 12 pediatric orthopedic surgeons on staff, and we covers hands, hip, knee. We even have plastic surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate. We’re a comprehensive hospital that provides essentially all care, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, prosthetics and orthotics, speech therapy and nutrition therapy. We have social workers. So, this is a wonderful institution that really covers the gamut of treatment for a child who has any sort of complex pediatric orthopedic problem.

The reason I came here is because the quality of our medical staff really is above anything that I've ever worked with in my career, and I've been a number of places. These physicians are spectacular and I'm so lucky to be their leader.

Host: Then tell us a little bit about your role with the hospital. You're fairly new to the Shriners Hospital team and you're a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the chief of staff. Tell us how you're going to work that role with your team.

Dr. Bernstein: Right. So as the chief of staff, I'm supposed to be the leader of the medical staff and to help them make transitions as healthcare throughout the country it’s changes. And the Shriners Hospital system, obviously as it progresses has changes. So that’s my goal is to be their leader to give them a vision of where we need to go, what changes we need to do, what type of technology we need to introduce. So that’s my administrative role.

Then as a surgeon, I focus on spinal deformities. So, I take care of scoliosis, kyphosis, congenital abnormalities of the spine. I'm also a specialist in skeletal dysplasia. So, dwarfism. We have a skeletal dysplasia program here and I get to be a part of that and provide care for children who are short stature and need additional orthopedic care.

Host: Tell us about the specialties of the other 11 surgeons, and the fact that you have 12, which is huge for any hospital. Tell us about some of the other specialties of the other surgeons involved.

Dr. Bernstein: Yeah so with our 12 surgeons, we have a surgeon who specializes in hand and upper extremity in children. We have surgeons that specialize in sports medicine, do a lot of arthroscopy of the knee and the ankle. We have fractures that we provide care for. There are actually three additional spine surgeons on staff that provide care for complex spinal deformity. We have surgeons that deal with hip dysplasia and other abnormalities of the hip, including hip arthroscopy and surgical dislocations of the hip. We have surgeons who take care of knee problems and foot problems in children. So, there's really quite a robust group of physicians here. We even have our own gait lab so that we can identify gait abnormalities in children and try and improve their care.

Host: What other services do you provide at Shriners? Tell us about the breadth of services that parents can look to as far as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and others.

Dr. Bernstein: So, we have in house occupational and physical therapists that specialize in children. So, when a child has an operation or needs therapy after surgery, or even before surgery, we have the special therapists that are here onsite that can evaluate the child beforehand, evaluate the child afterwards, provide the appropriate care that they need. We have occupational therapy, we have prosthetics and orthotics. Or if a child needs a prosthetic foot or a leg or if a child needs an upper extremity prosthesis. If a child needs a brace, we actually make those here on site so that the fabrication occurs here and the person making the fitting is here so that we provide that care right here all the time in the hospital.

Host: What can parents who bringing their child to Shriners expect from their visit and care?

Dr. Bernstein: So, parents can expect that they're going to receive the finest medical care that you can get anywhere in the world. They're going to be greeted at the hospital door, they're going to check in, they're going to be seen in clinic. They will be evaluated by a nurse, they’ll be evaluated by a physician, the physical therapist would potentially even come down to the clinic to see their child and evaluate them right there in the room. If they need any sort of bracing, we have them immediately seen by somebody who can make a brace for them. So, one of the nicest things about the care that we provide is that it’s comprehensive and onsite and it can be done virtually immediately.

Host: As we wrap up Dr. Bernstein, what’s something that makes the Portland Shriners Hospital among other children’s hospitals. What’s something that’s really exciting that’s going on there and what are your goals and aspirations in the coming years for Shriners Hospitals in Portland?

Dr. Bernstein: So, one of the unique things about our hospital here at Shriners Hospital in Portland is that we provide very complex spine care. And we have just recently received a donation of an O-arm, which is an intraoperative CT scan that allows us to be more accurate in our placement of equipment when we’re correcting severe spinal deformities. We’re the only hospital that I'm aware of in the northwest that actually has this. In addition, we have our gait lab, we have other technologies that we’re introducing constantly to try and improve our care. I believe that we already are and will continue to be the leader in pediatric orthopedic care in the northwest.

Host: Thank you so much Dr. Bernstein for joining us today and sharing the incredibly breadth of services available at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Portland. For more information on services offered, you can visit . That’s This is Melanie Cole. Thanks so much for tuning in.

About The Speaker

Robert Bernstein, M.D., Chief of Staff

Robert Bernstein, M.D., joins Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland after his time at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he served as medical director of their Orthopedic Center and vice-chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Orthopedics. As chief of staff, Dr. Bernstein will lead the team of 11 pediatric orthopedic surgeons on staff at the Portland Shriners Hospital. Dr. Bernstein was introduced to the Shriners Hospitals for Children health care system after practicing at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital from 1994-2001, and he was eager to return to the Shriners Hospitals for Children system when the opportunity presented itself.

Learn more about Dr. Bernstein

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