Pediatric Oncology and Hematology
The following describes pediatric cancer and hematology conditions. For specific information regarding your child’s health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
“Having a child with cancer is stressful for all involved. It should be comforting to know that children in our program are able to receive the same high quality, state-of-the-art therapy available as at any pediatric oncology center anywhere in the country.”
Susumu Inoue, MD, Director
Hurley Medical Center Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
The Hurley Difference
You might have a child with cancer, a blood disease, or blood clotting disorder. That is scary. At Hurley Medical Center, we want you to know that we are here for you and your child, every step of the way. Along with being known throughout Michigan for its excellent treatment of pediatric hematology and oncology (cancer) conditions, Hurley Medical Center offers something that other, larger institutions do not: personal care.
Hurley’s staff consists of two pediatric hematologist/oncologists, two hematology/oncology nurses, a hemophilia nurse, a sickle cell nurse, and a clinical study coordinator, so that you and your child always see the same faces. Because we know every patient by name, we know if a patient’s siblings are having a hard time and could benefit from a pediatric psychologist, or if a patient’s family needs a social worker to help with financial need.
Children’s Oncology Group
Hurley’s pediatric hematology/oncology program is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, an international organization of clinical and research pediatric oncology specialists. Because common childhood cancers are treated in the same way at any hospital within this network, you can be certain that your child is receiving the same level of treatment at Hurley as at any other COG institution.
Hurley Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Department
Hurley Medical Center’s pediatric hematology/oncology department treats infants to young adults with many types of cancer and blood diseases on an inpatient, outpatient, and consultative basis. Our specialized, compassionate doctors and nurses help children fight these difficult diseases and cope with the emotional, social, and developmental challenges they bring.
Because the most common cancer in children is leukemia(cancer of the blood), the same Hurley specialists will see a pediatric patient with an oncology or hematology condition. Dr. Susumu Inoue, MD and Dr. Nkechi Onwuzurike, MD, Hurley’s board-certified hematology/oncology physicians, are highly experienced in the treatment of:
- Acute and chronic leukemia
- Solid cancers of childhood and adolescence
- Hemophilia and other bleeding and clotting disorders
- Blood dyscrasias
- Granulocyte abnormalities
- ITP and platelet abnormalities
- Sickle Cell Disease
Hurley hematologists treat diseases of the blood and blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia (blood has trouble clotting), thrombosis (blood clots too easily) and anemia (low or very high white blood cell counts, or very low or very high platelet counts). Due to the strength of its Hemophilia Treatment Center, Hurley Medical Center has received funding from the National Institutes of Health.
No Place Like Hurley
Sometimes our patients need to go to other hospitals for a specific treatment, such as a bone marrow transplant, but they always love to come back. We hear from parents, “In the waiting room, we waited for hours and then somebody came and called my child’s name and looked around—they didn’t know who my child was. But when you see me in the hallway, you know him. There’s no place like Hurley.”
We have one goal—to provide the best care we can to our patients.
For all of our painful procedures, we use IV sedation. We try to make treatment as pain-free for each child as possible. If a patient is too sick to go to school, we’ll get a teacher to teach the child so he/she doesn’t fall behind. We also stress that our patients continue to be relevant members of society—just because they have leukemia doesn’t mean they don’t go to school.
Child Life Services: Crucial Emotional Support
Children may experience a variety of emotions after receiving a cancer diagnosis and throughout the treatment to follow. Hurley Child Life specialists collaborate with Hurley Medical Center team members and parents to encourage understanding and provide education. During supervised medical play sessions, children may use real medical equipment on dolls, allowing them to express feelings related to their diagnosis and treatment. In addition, Child Life specialists prepare children for procedures in the hospital to help decrease anxiety and enhance their coping skills. Child Life specialists offer activities that make children and their families feel ‘normal,’ including craft projects, games and movies. Child Life Services partners with the non-profit organization Beads of Courage to offer therapeutic programming that supports each child’s experience with cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Our Nurses: Above and Beyond
Some parents might not have any support at home and may need to leave their sick child in the hospital alone. For these kids, our Hurley nurses take over right away, providing toys, clothes, even Halloween costumes. They try their best to make sure every child is cared for emotionally, too.
Helping With Grief
When a patient is not doing well, when it becomes clear that the cancer is not curable, we are ready with psychological support to help that child and his/her family deal with the last few weeks or months of life. We concentrate on what they want, what they need, to get through this difficult time. This kind of caring, compassionate support from our entire Hurley staff is very important to families.
The most rewarding thing is to see kids get better.
Children with cancer get sick quickly but they also get better quickly. The recovery rates are much better than with adults. Our Hurley staff will tell you that this is why it is so rewarding to work in oncology—to be with families whose child is going to be okay.
Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Patient- and Family-Centered Care represents a profound change in the way health care is provided at Hurley Medical Center. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, our physicians have a team meeting with anyone the family wants to invite: friends, neighbors, their priest. The medical team sits down and explains the diagnosis to them, including treatment, toxicity, and anything else that is involved. This way, the family has all the information they need to make decisions about their child’s treatment. And at any time, the family can call either Dr. Inoue or Dr. Onwuzurike directly.
Hurley Medical Center’s three Oncology/Hematology clinics:
1) Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic
Phone: (810) 262-7303
Fax: (810) 262-9972
2) Regional Sickle Cell Clinic
Phone: (810) 262-9432
3) Michigan East Regional Hemophilia Center
Phone: (810) 262-9432
All three clinics are conveniently located within the hospital’s main campus. Your child can see a doctor, get an X-ray or CT scan, have blood drawn, and meet with other specialists all in the same building. Please contact the appropriate clinic to make an appointment, or call (810) 762-7303 for more information.