In opening its new 72-bed hospital wing on Monday, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas also unveiled a new cutting edge center for its rapidly growing pediatric epilepsy program.
How fast is it growing? Volume to the Dell Children’s epilepsy center grew from 145 patients in 2008 to 412 patients by 2012, according to an April 26 Austin-American Statesman article. That equals a 184 percent increase in four years.
Commented Dr. Mark Lee, neurosurgeon for epilepsy patients at both Dell Children’s and SBSI, in a 2011 press release, “The rapid expansion of the pediatric epilepsy program has put Dell Children’s on track to become one of the highest volume pediatric epilepsy surgery programs in the country this year.”
To meet demand, the Dell Children’s program moved out of its 6-bed epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and into a new state-of-the-art home within the new bed tower that allows the team to potentially double its capacity.
Each patient room is equipped with video equipment to provide round-the-clock monitoring of children for potential seizure activity. The unit also contains a unique playroom specifically for epilepsy patients under surveillance. Des
igned with strobe lights, video games and other high sensory technology, the playroom is a way medical specialists can help provoke a potential seizure in a safe environment – an important part of the diagnosis process.
It’s estimated that three percent of the population has epilepsy, which means thousands of children in Central Texas could benefit from these services. Yet, patients are also arriving from much farther locations.
Said Dr. Dave Clarke, medical director for the Dell Children’s epilepsy center, “We’ve been able to help epilepsy patients in Central Texas and from all over the world. Now, with more room and more advanced equipment, we’ll be able to help an even greater number of children.”