BUCKHANNON - Children treated at the West Virginia University Children's Hospital in Morgantown may come from a variety of areas across the state, but one of the top locations they come from is Upshur County, an official with the Children's Miracle Network said Tuesday.
Children's Miracle Network Director Lora Edgell told the Buckhannon Rotary Club that counties surrounding the hospital account for most of the patients, but that more children in Upshur County are treated at the hospital than the children in most other counties.
Edgell said that statistic was derived from an analysis over a six-year period. In the past six years, Edgell said, there have been more than 800 children with a combined number of visits to the WVU Children's Hospital exceeding 5,000 for just Upshur County children.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
West Virginia Children’s Miracle Network Director Lora Edgell speaks to Buckhannon Rotary Club members Tuesday.
"We are a specialist hospital," Edgell said. "We have over 90 specialties that we focus on."
Edgell said that many of the children who are treated at the children's hospital from Upshur County are in care for cancer or cystic fibrosis. Many who receive treatment at the children's hospital are sent there from their local hospital for various reasons.
"The community hospitals are important to the communities," Edgell said. "We work together as a team. We couldn't survive without you (local hospitals). A lot of the times, the local hospitals can't handle some of those specialized cases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis or just general emergencies if they can't figure out what's going on with the child."
In those cases, children could be transported to WVU Children's Hospital. The children's hospital, however, will treat children from birth to adulthood, usually up to 25 years of age.
"My philosophy - and I know the philosophy of our hospital is no child is ever turned away regardless of their inability to pay," Edgell said. "Children didn't ask to become sick, and it's our role and responsibility to treat them, get them well and get them back home with their families."
Many children at the hospital, Edgell said, are suffering from heart complications, seizures, cancer, early birthing, bowel obstructions or many other ailments. Children who will be at the hospital for the holiday season will get a visit from Santa at the hospital, Edgell said.
"The specialized doctors that are there are able to help those families," Edgell said. "Hopefully we won't have too many in the hospital over the holidays."
Edgell said that many groups and organizations will come to the hospital, serve dinner to the families or perform other deeds for the families or children.
"It's sad at this time of year," Edgell said. "It's very heartbreaking."
Edgell said that the average age of the patients in the children's hospital is between 7-8.