Featured Doctor: Dr. David Kays, M.D.

We want to thank Dr. David Kays, M.D., with John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for Bringing Hope Around the World to our CDH Families.

Deborah Hidalgo, mom to cherub Joseph, had this to say about Dr. Kays:  “Our son, Joseph was diagnosed with left sided CDH with liver up, January 18, 2010. We were devastated and told by 3 doctors to terminate the pregnancy; there was no way that was happening. So we started researching everything we could find on this defect we had never heard of. My mother-in-law found Kay’s Kids and asked us to look at it. So we read their stories and even contacted some of the parents on the forum. This led us to David Kays in Gainesville, FL. We met with him and conferenced with him for 3 hours. He showed us other children he had helped, he knew them all by name and where they were. Then he personally led us on a tour of the NICU and even missed a dinner date with his wife to continue talking with us. By the end, he gave us an 80% survival rate for Joseph and we decided that was the place to go.

I was due in June but had to get there in April, because I had too much fluid that was trying to send me into early labor. They stopped it over and over again and even drained off fluid twice. Finally by 39 weeks, June 1st, they took Joseph by c section. After 15 breaths they vented him and whisked him off to the NICU. When I finally saw him, I met our Tony Strenkens. He calmly explained all the equipment and machines around him, all the tubes and wires hooked to Joseph and that we could only touch with two fingers no stroking or patting. Then I will never forget he said “I know it’s a lot to take in and you will forget but I will explain it to you as many times as you need me to.” He was so kind and helpful. We couldn’t have made it through without him. Then surgery day came, Dr. Kays took my little boy back for surgery, then came out afterwards to explain what he had done. He explained in depth all he had done and answered our every question. After he gave me the biggest hug, like he knew I was about to fall apart or maybe he had poured himself into my son and needed the hug himself. Maybe it was both of those. He carefully watched over Joseph and was there for taking him off the vent, then off CPAP, then moving to NICU2. Then it was time to go home. His job was done.”

More about Dr. Kays according to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital website,https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Find-A-Doctor/Practitioner-Details/David–William–Kays:

“Dr. Kays is the medical director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) program in the Department of Surgery. He also serves as director of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program and co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis/Treatment program. He joined the medical staff in 2016. He also is a professor (PAR) in the Department of Surgery in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kays has more than two decades of clinical and research leadership in the treatment of CDH, a life-threatening birth defect that affects about one in every 3,000 pregnancies. His research has focused on defining the best treatment strategies for this challenging neonatal diagnosis and contributed to significant advances in care and outcomes. Dr. Kays and his team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s have achieved a survival rate that exceeds 90 percent for congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Before bringing his expertise and outcomes to Johns Hopkins All Children’s, Dr. Kays was previously with UF Health and Shands Children’s Hospital for more than 20 years. He was also surgeon in chief, professor of surgery and chief of the division of pediatric surgery in the University of Florida College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, where he led the ECMO and congenital diaphragmatic hernia program for over 20 years. He is the author or coauthor of more than 60 peer-reviewed original science publications and speaks nationally and internationally on CDH care and outcomes.

Dr. Kays earned his medical degree from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He completed a surgical residency at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center, and then completed a pediatric surgery fellowship at Morgan-Stanley Children’s Hospital of Columbia University, New York. Dr. Kays is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Children’s Oncology Group.”

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