Wednesday, April 12, 2017
INTEGRIS Children’s at Baptist Medical Center
INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center has provided high quality life-saving pediatric services for the sickest of the sick children in our state for more than three decades. Yet despite countless success stories and eternally grateful families, the pediatric medical staff at INTEGRIS often referred to themselves as the “best kept secret in Oklahoma”.
But now, the secret is out. INTEGRIS Pediatric Services is changing its name to INTEGRIS Children’s at Baptist Medical Center.
The renaming signifies a continuous but renewed commitment by INTEGRIS to be a force in the community for women’s and children’s services. And there is no bigger champion of children than Johnny Griggs, M.D., who was with INTEGRIS for nearly 30 years. He is fondly referred to as the father of pediatrics at INTEGRIS.
Even though Griggs recently announced his retirement and has entered the next chapter of his life, he will be forever remembered at INTEGRIS. He came to the hospital in 1991 to become the medical director of the hospital’s first pediatric intensive care unit. At the time, it was a small five bed unit and Griggs was the only pediatric intensivist.
“It was a lot of long nights. I might come in on a Monday and go home on a Wednesday or Thursday morning,” remembers Griggs. “But when you’re young and you’ve got the vision and you’ve got the support, that’s what you’re willing to do with something you’re so passionate about.”
When the unit’s census became consistently higher than the facility could manage, the PICU was expanded. In 1995, Griggs helped develop the pediatric liver transplant program at INTEGRIS Baptist. And in 2013, working with Christopher Lentz, M.D., he helped establish Oklahoma’s only pediatric burn program.
The primary goal of offering these types of specialties, is to keep sick and injured children right here in their home state with their families and support systems. “If you have a situation where a severely ill child needs a liver transplant or burn therapy, and the family has to go out of state, it can disrupt them in ways you cannot imagine,” says Griggs. “So it’s not enough to provide these services locally; those services have to be excellent.”
“What I love about Dr. Griggs, one of the many things, is that he helped build a service that outlasts him and continues to do bigger and better things,” says Julie Watson, M.D., department chair of pediatrics at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. “It feels like we’re getting traction. We’re taking who we’ve been and where we’ve been and are taking very calculated strategic steps forward. We want to be providers for families from birth to death, and INTEGRIS can do that.”
“INTEGRIS Baptist is one of only three facilities in the state with a NICU, a pediatric floor and a PICU – one of only three – and that’s a reason to send a message to families that you can get the full spectrum of care for your children at Baptist Hospital,” continues Watson. “Absolutely Baptist is an option for you, for your children. Not just you can have a child at Baptist and they have a NICU if needed, it’s when they’re two or six or 12 and they need care they can come to INTEGRIS Baptist as well.”
An added benefit of the name change is that it serves as an acknowledgement and source of pride to everyone who dedicates their everyday work to pediatrics at INTEGRIS Baptist: the clinicians, nurses, ancillary staff, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, etc.
“I’m proud of where we’ve come from and the development and the shape our PICU has taken,” says Griggs. “We now have an opportunity to say here we are, we’re here. We’re committed, we’re devoted, we have the know-how, we have the technology, but above all we have the caring to provide for Oklahoma’s sickest children.”
He adds, “The model of what we can provide in care today is light years ahead from what we were able to do back in 1991. What we once thought was impossible is now possible, and tomorrow - can only be imagined.