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Beacon Children’s featured in investigative report on caring for families amid national pediatric unit decline

The Lewis family drives an hour-and-a-half from their home in Gary to Beacon Children’s Hospital at least once a month, oftentimes more, to receive lifesaving treatment for three of their five kids.

“We shouldn’t have to drive 60 miles out of the way to get the care we need,” their mom Yolanda Lewis said.

Fifteen-year-old Marvin, 9-year-old Nadia, and 8-year-old Kendra all have sickle cell disease, a blood disorder, which has led to seizures, brain surgery and regular blood transfusions for them.

The Lewis family does the best they can to manage the circumstances and deal with the burden of having to travel so far for care, but it takes its toll, Yolanda said.

“I would travel as far as I need to travel for their health, but if it was closer…”

Dr. Kate Dutkiewicz

But there is nothing closer.

Other families drive even farther for pediatric care in parts of the country.

“There are no pediatric specialists, other than here in South Bend. There’s nothing in the northwestern part of the state, at all,” said Dr. Kate Dutkiewicz, Beacon Children’s medical director.

In fact, on the day a national reporting team from “Spotlight on America” came to visit Beacon for its story on the impact the declining number of pediatric units is having on families like the Lewises, Beacon Children’s 24-bed unit was at full capacity and diverting pediatric patients.

Click here to watch “Spotlight in America” and find out much more about the national trend and the impact it’s having on the patient families we care for here in South Bend.

The story is also scheduled to air during the 10 p.m. (EST) newscast Tuesday, Dec. 5 on WSBT-22.

About Beacon Children’s Hospital

Learn more about Beacon Children’s Hospital, the region’s only comprehensive children’s hospital. We are home to pediatricians and pediatric specialists whose top priority is making sure your child receives the medical care they need in the right place, at the right time, and in the best way for them. Whether it’s specialized care for an ongoing health issue, a regular checkup, or a sudden illness or injury, Beacon Children’s Hospital is here for you. Click here to find out more.

 

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.