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For Immediate Release

New Hotline at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Gives Parents Immediate Access to Medical Safety Net

Parents can call Condition Help line night or day for another medical opinion

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has become the first pediatric hospital in the nation working with the Josie King Foundation to launch a patient safety program - Condition Help - that gives parents round-the-clock access to medical intervention.

Condition Help gives parents the ability to call a phone number to have their child evaluated by a special medical team if they feel their child's immediate health is in danger or their concerns aren't being addressed. The hotline is to be used if there are still concerns about a patient's condition after a parent or patient has spoken with the patient's nurse, physician or other medical team member. At Children's the patient's professional nurse meets with the family of every patient admitted to the hospital to explain the program and provide a brochure with the hotline phone number.

Children's Condition Help Team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The team consists of a physician, nurse administrator and patient representative, who will immediately respond to every Condition Help call and listen to parents' concerns.

"Above all else, the safety of our patients is our top priority. The Condition Help program is an innovative safety net we provide families to assure them that we truly care that their children are getting the best care possible in the safest environment possible. We know that no one knows a child better than his or her parents," said Eugene S. Wiener, MD, chief medical officer at Children's. "We worked closely with our counterparts at UPMC Shadyside and we are grateful to the Josie King Foundation for their support and guidance in developing Condition Help."

The Josie King Foundation is named for Josie King, an 18-month-old girl who died tragically at another hospital in 2001 from avoidable causes. In her memory, her parents, Sorrel and Tony King, established a foundation focused on helping hospitals prevent medical errors and communications mistakes from harming patients. It also is designed to empower parents to become equal partners in their children's medical care.

"Among the great lessons of Josie's tragedy are the need for uniformly balanced communication between parents and caregivers, constant awareness of the possibility of human and system errors in the delivery of care, and the establishment of additional safeguards against errors," Sorrel King said.

Examples of when Children's Condition Help Team may be called:

  • If a noticeable medical change in a child occurs and the parent believes the health care team is not addressing concerns
  • If there seems to be a breakdown in how care is being given or there is uncertainty over what needs to be done for a child
  • If a child is being given medication that a parent feels will adversely affect him or her, or that the parent feels a member of the medical team has not explained thoroughly
  • If a child is receiving treatment or medication that a parent feels is intended for another patient or the parent believes it is different from what the doctor ordered

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 18, 2008
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Last Update
February 18, 2008