Top in nephrology care: Khalil’s story
June 22, 2020
Top in nephrology care: Khalil’s story

    It’s been a big year for Khalil, who turned 18 and graduated from high school.

    This “laid back young man with an old man spirit” as his mom describes him has always been a leader. In fact, his elementary teachers used to say during parent-teacher conferences that they could count on him to help keep the class in order. Khalil has come a long way since those early days. While these milestone occasions are always worthy of recognition, his journey has involved a few extra bumps in the road – making the celebration that much sweeter.

    Khalil was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2007 when he was just 5 years old, scary and difficult news for his family.

    When his mom, Donna, wasn’t getting the answers she needed, she sought a second opinion at CHoR.

    pediatric nephrology patient“After we met, I felt relieved and hopeful,” said Donna of Khalil’s initial appointment with our team. “I was impressed that they sat with me and listened. They let me talk while they took notes and everyone in the office showed me they really cared about my son. The next day I transferred Khalil’s medical records to CHoR.”

    Khalil has grown up at CHoR. The management of his kidney disease has involved coordinated care among our nephrology and urology teams, and included many tests, ultrasounds, procedures and surgeries. Donna recalls the patient access staff playing with him during the check-in process in the early days to calm his nerves, and hers too! Then they’d be waiting after the appointments to give Khalil as many stickers as he wanted. Meanwhile, mom was put at ease by the knowledge and reassurance provided by Khalil’s medical team.

    “They took the time to explain different procedures to me and ask how I was doing,” said Donna.

    While Khalil no longer needs to be cheered up with stickers, his doctors know that appointments still make him a bit nervous. Though his blood pressure is usually high at first, once Dr. Bunchman comes in and starts joking with Khalil it immediately decreases.

    “Dr. Bunchman makes our day. I crack up with the two of them going back and forth with their jokes. I love seeing my son smile,” said Donna.

    All joking aside, Dr. Bunchman and his team, in collaboration with the urology team, work diligently to provide excellent care for Khalil. He is a picky eater and has food allergies, so registered dietitian Christina Finotti guides Khalil and Donna with recommendations for a healthy, kidney-friendly diet. If they need help with paperwork or school requirements, they know they can call on Shirley Alexander Das, the team’s dedicated social worker. And nurse Jules is always ready to help with medications, supplies or other medical needs.

    Dr. Bunchman is quick to credit Khalil and Donna for the important role they have on the team as well:

    “The consistent work and excellence of the team is the reason this is our sixth time being named among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and points out that individual care and communication is paramount to delivering excellent care. We partner with families and in part this is also their award, for we are better because of them.”

    Khalil and Donna know there isn’t a cure for Khalil’s condition, but with the help of his team at CHoR he can live a normal life. What’s more “normal” for a teenage boy than watching football (Go, Saints!), playing basketball on the X-Box and picking on his sister?

    It’s heartbreaking when your child is ill, but this team of medical professionals helps us so much. I love them all for being themselves and understanding how we feel as the patient and family. Congratulations on being a nationally-ranked hospital. You are number one in my book.


    CHoR has been nationally ranked in four service areas including cancer, urology, nephrology and pulmonology. For more information, click here.

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