It’s no small feat to consistently be named the best children’s hospital in the nation, but the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia repeatedly pulls down that honor. Year after year, both U.S. News and World Report and Child Magazine rank CHOP number one in nearly every category of care for infants, children and adolescents. The division of cardiology performs more than 1,000 surgeries a year and can even operate on fetal hearts in the mother’s womb. For infants too ill for transport, a CHOP team will travel to hospitals within a 100-mile radius. CHOP’s orthopedic program treats problems as wide-ranging as spina bifida, malignant bone tumors, sports medicine injuries, cerebral palsy, and reattachment of a severed finger. Asthmatic kids get help breathing; children living at home on ventilators receive chronic assistance; and the lung transplant center gives life to children who need a new organ to survive. Especially renowned is CHOP’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, which just opened the world’s first birthing facility for mothers carrying babies with known birth defects. CHOP is home to more than 150 researchers seeking clinical and laboratory solutions to illnesses and diseases that strike the young. These are just some of the reasons patients travel from all over the globe to be treated at this truly world-class institution (34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, 215-590-1000, chop.edu).
Last October, Scott Kozin flew to Guatemala and spent four days operating on children like a 17-year-old boy who needed a wrist fusion and a little girl so badly burned that she couldn’t bend her elbow. Except for the facts that everyone spoke Spanish and he was working in an O.R. normally used to deliver babies, the operations were no different from the complicated cases he sees all the time at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, where he heads the hand surgery department. Kozin and internationally recognized pediatric spine surgeon Randal Betz are the superstars at this 59-bed orthopedic and spinal-cord hospital in North Philadelphia, which offers care to anyone in need. Thanks to the national Shriners organization, all of its cutting-edge procedures are absolutely free (3551 North Broad Street, 215-430-4000, shrinershq.org).