The hospital made the rankings in three pediatric specialities in the 11th annual Best Children’s Hospitals report: No. 36 in pediatric orthopedics, No. 46 in pediatric diabetes and endocrinology and No. 50 in pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery.
Valley Children’s CEO Todd Suntrapak said he has been with the hospital for 23 years, and with 3,200 employees and 400 volunteers, he has seen growth and expansion each year. “The dreams that every parent has for their children for a happy and healthy life are the same motivators the nurses and doctors have,” he said.
Charlyn Mata, 6, and Rivaldo Mata, 2, have been regulars at Valley Children’s Hospital since they were born with gastroschisis, which causes intestines to grow outside of the body. Both had surgery hours after they were born, and Rivaldo had an additional surgery a year ago. They both go to Valley often for check-ups. Their mother, Darsy Caballero, says the hospital deserves the recognition. The doctors and staff make her children feel at home, she says, and her kids are excited to visit. “They (my children) don’t see it was an actual hospital,” she says. “They see it as a place to come play and eat food, see people.”
Dr. Marvin Ament was hired six years ago with the goal of serving families in the central San Joaquin Valley so they didn’t have to travel elsewhere for care. His gastroenterology staff has now grown from four to 10, and he sees patients from the coast traveling to Valley Children’s because of the technology and trained professionals. “Major centers on the coast don’t have what we have,” he said.
“World class pediatric care is performed daily here,” said David Christensen, the senior vice president of medical affairs and chief physician executive. “It’s right in our backyard.”
A famous alumnus of Valley Children’s is Dallas Carr, son of Derek and Heather Carr. The son of the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback, Dallas Carr developed intestinal problems shortly after birth that required surgeries at the hospital. He fully recovered and his parents are now chief supporters of Valley Children’s.
For the report, hospitals were judged in 10 pediatric categories, and each category has its own top 50 list: neonatology, cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology.