Sick Kids

I have been hearing about Sick Kids since I was a little girl, I have seen thousands of commercials raising funds, I have gotten all the brochures for the Sick Kids lottery. Yet, until I was booked into the Fetal Echo lab at Sick Kids I had never really thought too much about it. The hospital ads, the lottery, the stories, they all seemed so far removed, it happens to other people. Knowing that it can happen to you changes things. When Josh was born he was stabilized at Mt. Sinai and then rushed to Sick Kids, and I began to learn about this amazing hospital. The staff, some of whom have gotten to know Josh and us very well are warm and loving. The have on occasion even heard we were in the hospital and come looking for us to say hi. If I show up at the asthma clinic with Kaleb (the asthma clinic shares space with the Cardiac Clinic) all the doctors and nurses see me and with a panicked look on their face ask me why I am there, if Josh is okay, if Kaleb is okay. They are specialists, in not just Cardiology but with kids and with parents. The information I am giving you today (again in honor of CHD awareness month on this Blog) is about the Labatt Family Heart Centre.

The Labatt Family Heart Centre was established in February 2007. The extraordinary generosity of the Labatt Family allowed the former Cardiac Program to move forward with a series of important internal initiatives, funding the redevelopment and future activities of the Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children. (The Cardiac Critical Care Unit – CCCU is the only specialized Cardiac ICU in the country)


We will be the best paediatric and congenital heart disease centre in the world. CURRENT STATE  The Labatt Family Heart Centre brings together significant interdisciplinary and interprofessional activities within Paediatric Cardiology, Cardiovascular Surgery, Cardiac Critical Care, Cardiovascular Research and Adult Congenital Heart Disease programs, thus allowing the Heart Centre to address the needs of patients and families from fetal life through to adulthood.

The Heart Centre at SickKids promotes these activities through seamless integration of research activities, academic performance and exemplary clinical care.  Membership within the Centre consists of SickKids’ clinicians, researchers and educators from nursing, medicine, surgery, perfusion, respiratory therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, social work, child life, diagnostic imaging technologists, and pharmacy. Additional membership is drawn from outside SickKids and includes adult cardiologists from the University Health Network (UHN), Mount Sinai Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences as well as paediatric cardiologists in London Health Sciences, McMaster Children’s Hospital , Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa), and Kingston General Hospital.

Key linkages with other proposed centres (Genetics, Cancer and Blood, Healthy Breathing) will further enhance the integration of the Heart Centre within the framework of the larger SickKids Community.  Many other professional and ancillary groups participate in Heart Centre activities with a greater or lesser clinical, research, and/or administrative relationship.

Cardiac Imaging, while remaining under the auspices of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, is an integral part of the Heart Centre, as is Cardiac Anaesthesia, under the Department of Anaesthesia. Similar healthy collaboration exists with the Division of Genetics, the Division of Respiratory Medicine, the Division of Neurology and virtually all of the other subspecialties.

The complex nature of congenital heart disease and its genetic and syndromic associations require a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach.  We are the largest member of the Pediatric Cardiac Network of Ontario (PCN), a provincial forum which has become an important part of the organization of children’s cardiac services in Ontario.

Through this forum, via a variety of means, i.e. regular telehealth conferences with cardiologists and surgeons from London, McMaster, and Ottawa, referral of patients, discussion of problems, and regular patient follow-up are all achieved between the groups.

There is also a network of community Cardiologists within Toronto. Each of these individuals work in a collaborative and supportive manner. Several provide part-time echocardiography staff coverage within the Echo Lab, and all attend our clinical meetings for continuing medical education, referral of patients, and development of research studies. New patient referrals to SickKids, and known patients requiring pre and postoperative follow-up, are triaged to our community cardiologists along well established guidelines, significantly reducing the outpatient work load at SickKids.


Our vision of premier international excellence is based on the four pillars of our mission:      Unsurpassed, measurable patient outcomes     Innovative, practice-changing research     Superb education, training and quality of work life     Exemplary patient and family satisfaction

Feel free to visit the website, learn about what great things Sick Kids is doing, and how you can get involved!


Published by lauriehaughton

Author & Photographer

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