Executive Leadership: Keith Oldham

Health Care Heroes

Keith Oldham

Keith Oldham
Surgeon-in-chief
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Keith Oldham
Keith Oldham

Each year, more than 5 million infants and children undergo surgery in the United States. Regardless of the type of surgery, research has shown there are fewer complications, better survival rates and shorter hospital stays when the surgeries are performed in a pediatric hospital.

Thanks to Dr. Keith Oldham, surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, families now have a way to check if a hospital is properly equipped to handle pediatric surgeries.

Oldham led a national task force of the American College of Surgeons that created national benchmarks and a process for hospitals to receive designation.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin was one of the first two in the country to achieve the highest designation, Level I.

This means the hospital can perform all types of procedures on the entire age range from newborns to young adults, including those with the most severe health conditions and birth defects.

Pediatric surgery deaths and complication rates continue to be higher than for adult surgeries due to the complexities involved in operating on growing bones and bodies that metabolize anesthesia differently than other patients.

Despite the risks, more than half of all pediatric surgeries take place at hospitals that do not focus on treating children.

Oldham believes children in the U.S. should receive the surgical care they need in an environment matched to that their medical, emotional and social needs.

Oldham joined Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in 1998 and has helped grow and maintain Children’s as one of the leading pediatric hospitals in the country.

“Wisconsin residents are fortunate to have a world-class medical center for children because of individuals like Dr. Oldham,” said Marc Gorelick, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “We should be equally proud that the success here in Wisconsin contributed to a process that will benefit families across the country. In the past year, I can think of no one else who has impacted quality care at such a high level or who has led a more important collaboration.”

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