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Located in C Clinic in the Patient Care Center, the clinic treats children with pulmonary conditions related to therapy or unrelated pulmonary problems, such as asthma, which may complicate therapy.
Bill Mackert is a cardiopulmonary technologist who works with the staff in the clinic, which features the latest technology in pulmonary function testing.
“Start out with normal breathing; hands on your cheeks,” Mackert says as he monitors and records 12-year-old Gordon Henderson’s breathing levels on a computer screen in the clinic’s testing area. “Big breath in…long breath out.”
Mackert is using body box testing, or body plethysmography. The test, standard for St. Jude patients 5 years and older, is performed in a closed chamber using a series of panting techniques to measure the volume and flow of air in the lungs and to detect diseases affecting lung function.
In addition to Mackert, other clinical staff includes Registered Nurses Susan Strawn and James Magness, Douglas Harper, respiratory therapist, and Dennis Stokes, MD.
Stokes is one of the primary pediatric pulmonologists at the clinic and is no stranger to St. Jude. He was director of the hospital’s Cardiopulmonary section and Intensive Care Unit for eight years in the 1980s and is eager to include St. Jude in his community-wide pediatric pulmonology care model.
“Our mission is to serve the patients at St. Jude with pulmonary problems as well as the outstanding clinicians at St. Jude who need our consultation,” said Stokes, chief of the Program in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine.
The program provides pulmonary consulting services to St. Jude, Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
“Years ago patients had to travel by taxi cab across town to receive treatment,” said Janice English, RN, director of the Ambulatory Care Unit. “We’ve changed the model. Special Care Physicians now come to St. Jude to see our patients as opposed to having St. Jude patients go to their private offices.”
Most appointments at the pulmonology clinic are scheduled the first Tuesday morning of each month. The clinic will open additional hours and add other days as the need warrants.