Every six months, Remington MacCullough travels from Esparto to the Spina Bifida clinic at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California in Sacramento and gets his ultrasound.
He knows the drill. He knows the faces. They’re the same faces that have followed him since he was an infant.
“We have been going here since he was six months old. He gets an ultrasound. They look at the health of his kidneys and his bladder and then he goes to meet with his doctors and talk about the results,” said Chloe MacCullough, mother of Remington.
It is the routine for many spina bifida patients in inland Northern California.
For more than 25 years, UC Davis Children’s Hospital has partnered with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California to serve children with spina bifida. The Spina Bifida Clinic, located across the street from UC Davis Children’s Hospital, is a unique collaboration, blending the expertise of UC Davis with Shriners, including physicians, registered dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, and ultrasound technicians in a child-friendly facility.
It’s a place of support and healing for children with spina bifida — and, since 2016 when the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center opened, it has been a place for children who have been treated with spina bifida in the womb.
“I think our partnership offers children with the best of both worlds,” said Maya Evans, medical director of the clinic. She works with children in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) at both facilities. “Our physicians come from PM&R, pediatric orthopaedics, pediatric neurology and pediatric urology. This arc that we offer provides a nice continuity of care for children who started with fetal surgery at UC Davis and takes them through adulthood.”
Once children reach the age of 18, UC Davis Medical Center is the next step in their care and can provide comprehensive services for adults with spina bifida. It is what caregivers call lifespan care.
Chloe MacCullough notes that the intimate setting at Shriners has been comforting and that the staff and Remington’s doctors have been incredibly kind and patient.
“The partnership between UC Davis and Shriners has given our family peace of mind when it comes to creating a plan for our son’s overall health. Knowing Remi has doctors who are working together to ensure he has the best care has made all the difference as we navigate his medical journey. The Spina Bifida Clinic at Shriners is a huge part of this, where we gain knowledge and equip Remi to live a full and successful life,” Chloe MacCullough said.