U.S. News Ranks Children’s Hospitals in Six Specialties

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As you know if you've stopped by our "America's Best Children's" Hospitals page, we have ranked pediatric hospitals for the first time in individual specialties—cancer, digestive disorders, heart and heart surgery, neonatal care, neurology and neurosurgery, and respiratory disorders. We got lots of help from the pediatric community, and considering that not all of them would be beneficiaries—they realized that their hospital wouldn't necessarily be ranked—it is important to salute their willingness to pitch in, a form of professional bravery.

I hope you've had a chance to read the stories of children who got the best possible care at some of these hospitals. One of them was Makenna Franks, who will shortly turn 5. I watched last August as she underwent open-heart surgery for the third time. We ran a photo essay on the Web and in the print magazine, and when we were planning this year's issue, I wanted to let readers know how she's been doing.

Pure coincidence: A few hours before "Best Children's Hospitals" was posted online, I received an E-mail from a reader who wanted an update on Makenna. It seems the reader's niece has a baby with the same condition—hypoplastic left heart syndrome—who had been born the month Makenna had her surgery. I let her know we would be posting an update. "Please give our best to Makenna and her family," she wrote back. We will.

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