U.S. News Ranks Our Pulmonology Program No. 3 in the Nation

What the mind does not know, the eye will not see. 

This slight variation on a famous quote from the author D.H. Lawrence speaks volumes about the level of compassion and expertise within the pulmonary medicine team here. 

That depth of knowledge helped save the life of a young girl named Jerrica Stone. Her story helps explain why our pulmonology program is ranked No. 3 in the country in the 2018-19 list of Best Children’s Hospitals published by U.S. News & World Report.

From an early age, Jerrica had been declining from a muscle-wasting condition that impacted her ability to breath on her own. Her breathing was tracheostomy and ventilator dependent.  By age 3, her birth parents had become overwhelmed; this subsequently led to one of Jerrica’s ICU nurses adopting her into the family.

After dozens of hospital visits had failed to stop the decline, it appeared that Jerrica would need to be placed in hospice care. However, a pulmonologist and member of  Cincinnati Children’s unique interdisciplinary Congenital Myopathy Clinic challenged the hospice plan, which led to the  diagnosis of a rare genetic condition called congenital myasthenic syndrome—a condition that doctors could treat.

“Within hours, we went from her being able to barely support a Kindle or an iPad and move her thumb—that’s all we had left was a thumb—and the next day, I have video of her when she picked her hand up, and she put a lollipop in her mouth,” says Jerrica’s mom, Barbara McClaren, RN. “And we were just shocked. Oh my god, she moved. It was like flipping a light switch.” 

Today, Jerrica is able to sit and dance, and can breathe without a ventilator for most of the day.

This individual case reflects a wider mission, says  Raouf Amin, MD, Director of Pulmonary Medicine. “Regardless of how we are ranked, we always strive to get better. We see a wide range of complex cases and we do what it takes to figure it out.”

Be it creating a center of excellence to provide coordinated long-term care to premature infants born with chronic lung disease or developing gut organoids to determine the ideal medication doses for children with cystic fibrosis, our pulmonary specialists help children with the most complex lung conditions breathe a little easier.

Why We Stand Out

  • Doctors from throughout the US and other nations refer children with difficult-to-treat asthma to our  Asthma Center, where we help them improve asthma control and reduce their need for emergency department visits.
  • Our Center of Excellence for Chronic Lung Disorders of Prematurity helps maximize lung development when extremely premature infants require long periods of support from mechanical ventilators.
  • We serve children from across the U.S. and from 17 other countries at our Rare Lung Diseases Program. We collaborate with experts in genomics and other specialties to take innovative approaches to diagnosing rare lung diseases.  
  • Our Cystic Fibrosis Center is an international referral center. Our clinical teams are experts at helping children live well with the disease. Scientists here also are studying ways to use DNA nanoparticles to deliver gene therapy into diseased cells. 
  • Our Upper Airway Center serves as a referral center for children with especially complex forms of sleep apnea. We help many children who have not responded well to initial treatments.
  • Our Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research develops groundbreaking methods to evaluate disease, predict outcomes and monitor progress during treatment. Our work includes advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that can gather images just as useful as CT scanning, but without the long-term risks of radiation exposure.
  • Our Lung Transplant Program is one of the very few able to treat infants as small as 5 kilograms (11 pounds).
  • Physicians from all over the world come here to train at our Flexible Bronchoscopy Post-Graduate Course. 
  • Our Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program helps patients build up their endurance, whether they are preparing for lung transplantation or coping with chronic lung disease.
  • Most of our faculty members are represented in national organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the American Thoracic Society, and the American Board of Pediatrics.