When Erika Whiting of Beavercreek was told her son needed an x-ray to rule out pneumonia, her heart sank. Obviously, she was terribly worried about 5-year-old Alex, but like many moms, she was taking time away from her job at a credit union in Kettering to take care of her son. “When the pediatrician referred us for a chest x-ray, I thought ‘gosh, this could take awhile,’ but she sent us to Dayton Children’s testing center in Kettering. We were in and out in under 30 minutes.”
Heidi Noj of Kettering was already familiar with the pediatric experts at Dayton Children’s when she started using its community testing centers. “My 5-year-old is an oncology patient, so we are frequently at the main hospital for chemotherapy treatments, but have had blood work and x-rays done at the testing center in Kettering,” she says. Heidi’s other children—a 3-year-old and 9-year-old—have also had x-rays at the Kettering facility.
Why a pediatric imaging center?
Neither parent considered an adult imaging center for their children—even if there was one closer to work or home.
Erika knows that kids have a hard time holding still for tests and procedures. “Because your staff works with children all the time, they know the special techniques for helping kids hold still. I think they are more patient with kids at Dayton Children’s than at an adult center.”
Heidi was also convinced that her children were better off at a facility focused on caring for kids. “There’s a feeling that the staff at Children’s is handpicked. They kneel to speak to my children. They look them in the eye. They offer the children choices about how they would like to proceed and allow them to maintain some level of control. It can be as simple as encouraging them to place the protective vest on before an x-ray or asking them which side of the bed they would like to climb up on,” she says.
“Even minor imaging procedures need a pediatric radiologist,” says Elizabeth Ey, MD, director of medical imaging at Dayton Children’s.
“A good example is when a teen athlete with hip pain is referred by a sports medicine physician for evaluation. At an adult facility, where the staff does not see many kids, they may be looking for signs of an overuse injury. At a pediatric facility, our staff knows that overuse injuries can affect the growth plate and that a child’s bone looks different depending on the age and stage of development. This knowledge and experience helps us determine what is normal and what’s not on a child’s x-ray or scan.”
When something serious is discovered, such as a childhood cancer, the specialists in medical imaging work with other pediatric experts at Dayton Children’s to determine next steps.
“Because our community testing centers are connected directly with the main hospital, we can view images taken at the centers and consult with another pediatric specialist while the child and family are still present,” she says. Dr. Ey recalls a situation when a spinal cord tumor was discovered in a child referred for a scoliosis evaluation.
“We were able to consult the orthopedic surgeon while the child was still here and get further images of the spine. This is a credit to our entire team, who made themselves available and handled the preauthorization for additional tests in a timely way so the family did not have to be inconvenienced.”
Putting safety and convenience first
Both mothers wanted to make sure that any imaging tests are performed safely and effectively and that whoever is involved in their child’s care understands that children may be frightened, may need extra time to relax and may not be able to say where it hurts. Moms with teens may want reassurance their child won’t be talked down to or treated like a little kid. Because the staff at Dayton Children’s and it’s testing centers care for all ages of infants, children and teens, they not only understand developmental concepts, but have the sensitivity and experience that only comes with one-on-one contact with lots of children, every day.
And, we know that after quality care, convenience is important for the more routine tests, procedures and care. “We know the child’s and parents’ time is valuable and try to combine services for their convenience,” says Melanie Wilson, director, outpatient testing centers. “For example, an ultrasound will sometimes come before the fluoroscopic exam. We coordinate these tests so there’s no wait in between, which helps reduce anxiety.”
Not only are our community locations close to work or home for many parents, all offer short wait times and free parking close to the building. Kid-friendly décor and comfortable waiting areas with video games help kids relax. All these features are even more important when your child is sick.
We understand kids
Besides the fact that they were in and out quickly, Erika remembers the friendly staff. And she’s not the only one. Parents often tell us about staff who took special steps to put their child at ease or to help with a preauthorization. Another plus for Erika? No paperwork. “Because Alex had been to the hospital before, they had all the information they needed in the computer.”
Performing imaging studies on children requires special considerations and attention to detail. Dr. Ey points out that a child’s actively growing body is more susceptible to the effects of radiation, and a child may require multiple imaging studies during his or her lifetime. “We image only the area of interest, nothing extra, and do everything possible to ensure we get the scan right the first time. Doing a CT over, for example, doubles a child’s radiation exposure,” she says.
Our facilities are accredited, which ensures tests are kid-sized—we use height and weight to calculate and provide the lowest radiation dose—and, when needed, special needles in different sizes minimize a child’s discomfort. Our providers are board certified to provide care just for kids.
According to Dr. Ey, Dayton Children’s medical imaging department was recently commended by the American College of Surgeons for its routine practice of reviewing and interpreting imaging studies performed on children by other facilities before the child arrives at Dayton Children’s. “Many times, the child does not have to have their studies repeated because we are willing to review what has already been done,” she says. “This reduces radiation exposure, cost to the family and discomfort to the child.”
And at all our facilities, giving kids a choice as much as possible helps win their trust and ease their anxiety. “Children getting an upper GI at Springboro or the main hospital can choose the flavor of contrast they drink. We have vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavors. And we’re big on rewards, we go through thousands of stickers and prizes every year,” Dr. Ey says. Parents are encouraged to be with their child when that’s possible and may help with special distraction techniques that take the “scary” out of their visit.
“We use all kinds of comfort measures—bubbles, movies, toys, etc, but always talk to a child on their level so he or she is part of the plan,” says Melanie. “Parents of children are always asked to participate, and we encourage questions. After all, they know their child best and want the best for him or her.”
“Because of Dayton Children’s, my expectations for all medical interactions are very high. We expect a smile from the receptionist, a joke from the specialist and an offer from anyone to hold a hand when it’s needed. Dayton Children’s delivers,” says Heidi Noj. “We would not go anywhere else.”
Not going the distance
We know you would “go the distance” to get the best for your child. But, when it comes to pediatric medical imaging and laboratory services, you won’t have to go far to benefit from Dayton Children’s pediatric expertise.
Medical imaging and laboratory services can be found at the following community locations:
- Dayton Children’s Outpatient Care Center – Springboro – 937-641-5725
- Dayton Children’s Specialty Care Center – Warren County – 513-424-2850; toll free – 1-888-422-4453
- Dayton Children’s Outpatient Testing Centers
- Beavercreek – 937-641-5770
- Kettering – 937-641-5760
- Vandalia – 937-641-5764
- St. Rita’s Eastside Urgent Care – Lima – 937-641-3000 (ask for clinic)
These locations provide other services as well. See all our community locations and details.
We believe there are 18 ways we're just right for our region's kids! Learn more and share your story at justrightforkids.org.