JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Pediatrics has changed since 1955, when Batson first arrived at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson . Children born at low birth weights may not have survived.

“Years ago, there wasn’t as much of a need for pediatric subspecialists because so many children with medical challenges then didn’t survive,” Dr. Jeffrey Crout, professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine at UMMC.

Today, neonatologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists and other pediatric subspecialists help children grow past medical crises to go home from the state’s only children’s hospital with their families. 

“A significant number of these babies will need careful management of their nutrition and continued close monitoring of their neurodevelopmental progress,” said Kalikkot. “They will need therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Some of these babies go home on oxygen or home ventilator support that needs close follow up with the home ventilation team and pulmonology, in addition to continued nursing care and medical supplies at home.”

Children’s of Mississippi pediatric specialists follow babies who start life in the NICU through age two to monitor their progress and make sure they receive needed specialty care.

“If we are not able to provide their continued care, we won’t be able to ensure they grow and develop to their full potential, despite all the hard work we do in the NICU,” said Kalikkot. “Pediatricians have a very significant role in the care of these babies once they leave the NICU.” 

Although Children’s of Mississippi follows up with NICU patients in a high-risk clinic, having a pediatrician near home can help ensure they get the care they need. This can include nutritional management, monitoring growth, immunizations and more. 

To bring specialty care closer to home for patients and their families, Children’s of Mississippi has opened specialty clinics across the state. Experts in pediatric subspecialties, including cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, orthopaedics and more, offer care at clinics in Tupelo, Meridian, Hattiesburg and Biloxi in addition to Jackson at the Eli Manning Clinics for Children and in the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower.