Friday, October 17, 2008

Carle Clinic (Urbana) owes an explanation

At least at one point, Dr. Mark Musselman held out the Carle pediatric cancer center as something it was not.

As a cancer patient, I recognize that "cancer" is a money making industry. But, a medical facility should not take advantage of our fear of cancer to make money.

Carle Clinic should have been honest about its pediatric cancer program.

Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program

Connecting young patients with special caregivers

The bad news: More than 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and over 40,000 children and adolescents are currently being treated for childhood cancers. Within Carle’s service area alone, more than 400 kids are battling cancer or blood disorders.

The good news: Childhood cancer is now curable in over 75 percent of patients. With advances in research, this percentage continues to increase. Advancements in early diagnosis and treatment are saving the lives of children with blood disorders, too.

Modern medicine can—and does—work wonders. But learning that your child has cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder is still devastating. Cancer treatments can often last up to three years. Family dynamics change. School and work routines are disrupted. Anxiety, anger, frustration and depression are common. Lives are forever altered.

It takes a special team of healthcare providers to care for children afflicted with cancer and blood disorders. Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team is well-equipped for the task. These doctors, nurses and other trained staff members understand the physical as well as the psychological needs of the patients. They know the importance of treating children as children, not small adults. They appreciate the heavy burden that the family must bear. They listen, they empathize and they care.

Our Mission

The mission of Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program is to:

• Serve the needs of infants, children, adolescents and young adults with cancer and blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease and hemophilia

• Provide research and teaching programs that ensure delivery of the highest quality care to our community

About the Program

Champaign-Urbana and its surrounding communities are fortunate to have a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program so close to home. Many families facing childhood cancer and blood disorders must travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles each month for exams, treatments and hospital stays. But Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program makes it possible for children to receive their exams and treatments right here in Urbana. And if hospitalization is necessary, Carle Foundation Hospital’s Pediatrics unit has specially equipped rooms to meet the unique needs of these patients.

Until last year, the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program was housed inside the Carle Cancer Center. But in August 2006, they moved into a beautiful new space on the sixth floor of Carle’s South Clinic. “We designed the Center under the theme, ‘A Place for Us’,” said Mark Musselman, MD, pediatric hematologist/oncologist. “Our patient visits are very long. We see some of our patients up to five days a week and some are here for treatments up to 40 hours a week. This new space allows our young patients to receive state-of-the-art quality medical care in an environment geared to make this time of their lives as comfortable as possible.”

The small-town d├ęcor provides a home-like atmosphere. The new space includes four exam rooms and three infusion rooms designed in themes. Four infusion chairs in an open area with plenty of natural light sit next to a play area which is designed to look like a park. The procedure room depicts a nighttime walk near a lake.

“During their visit, we want our patients to feel as though their exam or infusion room is their home,” said Dr. Musselman. “These facilities help our families through some incredibly hard times and give them a place to belong. It helps them focus on other things while we deliver their care. Our patients receive the latest treatments and participate in national clinical trials, yet they see it all as just a visit to a place where they belong and can have some fun.”

About the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Team

Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team provides the most current hematology and cancer treatments. Their comprehensive approach to care offers patients and families the benefits and personal attention needed to get through a difficult time. Members of the healthcare team include:

Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist

This physician specializes in the treatment of blood-related diseases and cancer in children and adolescents. His clinical and research interests include national pediatric oncology trials and hemophilia.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse

This nurse plays an integral role in the treatment, coordination and support of the patient and family. Responsibilities range from lab draws and injections to complex chemotherapy treatments and procedures with moderate sedation.

Child Life Specialist

The child life specialist is a trained professional who focuses on the emotional adjustment of the patient, sibling(s) and parents. She provides age-appropriate education for surgery, medical tests and procedures; therapeutic play; bedside intervention; diversionary activities during tests or procedures; and family support and education.

Other team members may include social workers, chaplains, radiation oncologists and therapists, dietitians, pharmacists, clinical research associates and patient service staff.

How You Can Help

You can support Carle’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program by making a tax-deductible donation to The Carle Development Foundation. Your gift can be designated for one or both of the following funds:

• Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Education and Research

• Special Days, which provides funding for games and toys, celebrations, summer camp and other small things that can make a big difference during treatment

To make a gift using our secure online form, click here. If you prefer to write a check, please mail it to:

The Carle Development Foundation

611 W. Park St.

Urbana, IL 61801

Please be sure to note which fund(s) your gift will support.


There was only one doctor at the pediatric cancer program.

His name was Mark Musselman, M.D.

He is not (and has never been) board certified in pediatric hematology-oncology.

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