As a pediatric hospitalist (a physician who only treats children admitted to the hospital), Matthew Grossman, MD, helps families during their most vulnerable moments.
“Kids are relying on you to get them better, and working with their families is great,” Dr. Grossman says. “They are coming to you with their children, their most prized possession, and being able to help them is truly rewarding.”
The field of pediatric hospital medicine is a relatively new subspecialty, but the need for it is great, Dr. Grossman says. In the past, community pediatricians visited their hospitalized patients.
“We still have some pediatricians who do that, but the benefit of having pediatric hospitalists is that inpatient and outpatient care are really quite different,” he explains. “If you are an outpatient doc, you’re spending maybe just 5 percent of your time treating inpatients. Inpatient care has become complex, and it makes sense to have a group of doctors who focus on that, are used to coordinating with various hospital specialists, and dealing with the diseases we see routinely.”
Dr. Grossman is the quality and safety officer at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and in 2015 and 2017, teams he led were awarded the National Pediatric Quality Award from the Children’s Hospital Association. In 2017, he received Yale Medicine’s Excellence in Quality and Safety Award for his approach to caring for infants going through withdrawal after being born to opioid-addicted mothers.
Dr. Grossman’s technique, which is being replicated around the country, recognized that the traditional approach of separating babies from mothers and placing them in the high-stimulation neonatal intensive care unit (and treating them with morphine), was not in the best interest of the baby—or mother. He paired mother and child together in calm settings and urged frequent feedings, comforting, and swaddling.
“Before, babies would stay in the hospital for three or four weeks, but now it’s more like five or six days. And we use way less medication,” says Dr. Grossman, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. “It’s been dramatic. The bonding between the mother and child is the treatment.”