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Perinatology and pediatrics - quality care starts in the womb

By Debra Guinn, MD, and Rachel Fisherkeller, CPNP-PC/AC 
Learn more about the Montana Perinatal Center or Pediatric Surgery at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. 

As a parent, you know that your child isn’t “just a little adult.” Not only are their minds in a constant state of growth and change, but their bodies are also growing and developing at an alarming speed. Children’s organs function differently and they are prone to different diseases and infections than adults. Children deserve specialty care for their unique bodies and minds. Three to five percent of all newborns have identifiable birth defects within the first year of life. The need for pediatric specialists in a variety of areas is crucial to support our children. General pediatric providers are very well trained and are charged with the difficult task of detecting abnormal findings. Once concerns are identified, however, pediatric specialists and their support services are necessary.

Years ago, the leadership at Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC) had a vision to provide Montana children and expectant mothers with expert pediatric care. This vision turned to a reality when KRMC opened the Montana Perinatal Center (MPC) in 2015, which has met with a huge success. Our patients and referral providers appreciate the quality of care received and the ability to remain in state.

KRMC has since hired numerous pediatric specialists including cardiology, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology, neurology, endocrinology, diabetes and more. These providers then created Montana Children’s Specialists and have provided support to hundreds of families in great need. This group includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physical and occupational therapists that specialize in all aspects of complex pediatric care. Montana children can now receive expert care close to home regardless of day or time. Our newest essential service is general pediatric surgery with two pediatric surgeons, Gavin Falk, MD, and Federico Seifarth, MD, and nurse practitioner Rachel Fisherkeller.

Pediatric surgeons provide care for neonates, infants and children. They undergo years of specialized training to work with a child’s small anatomy while utilizing noninvasive techniques to reduce the pain and scarring following an operation. Additionally, with advances in imaging, many birth defects can be diagnosed prenatally. Prenatal diagnosis allows early involvement of the pediatric surgical team to develop a treatment plan with the neonatologists, the obstetrical team and, most importantly, families to prepare for the birth of the baby in a calm and therapeutic environment.

Now that this specialized care is available within Montana, it is no longer necessary to leave Montana to receive high quality perinatal and pediatric services. Mothers and their infants requiring specialized care can now be helped in Kalispell. We help coordinate every aspect of your families care from visits with multiple provider types to the day-to-day issues required to minimize your stress. This includes transportation and housing as needed on a case-by-case basis. Your family is an essential part of our care TEAM. On behalf of the KRMC family, thank you for the opportunity to help care for your family. 

Contact KRH to learn more at (844) 215-7969 or online at krh.org/children

First published in MT Woman magazine, January 2017