Newborn undergoes surgery to remove brain tumor at three days old at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

“Olivia’s parents had no idea Wolfson is one of U.S. News’
50 Best Children’s Hospitals in the Nation in neurosurgery,
but it made all the difference.​”

By Wolfson Children’s Hospital

Jacksonville, Florida, June 26, 2018 — Jennifer Schmidt was planning on a natural water birth at home, but when her baby went into the breech position, a cesarean section became the best option. Her baby girl, Olivia, was born severely anemic and with unusually low blood sugar. She was rushed to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where she was examined by a team of neonatologists and endocrinologists.

Olivia had a craniopharyngioma, a brain tumor that forms near or on the pituitary gland, impacting many bodily functions including metabolism, blood pressure, growth and reproduction. Chemotherapy and radiation posed a risk to her developing brain, so her physicians decided surgical removal was her best option.

Philipp Aldana, MD, co-medical director of the Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson Children’s, led the six-hour procedure. He and his neurosurgery team went in through Olivia’s forehead and carefully made their way underneath the lobes of her brain, navigating around critical structures like the optic nerves and carotid arteries. Once at the site, they removed the entire blueberry-sized tumor, along with her pituitary gland.

Having this surgery at such a young age spares Olivia from the developmental delays she would have endured otherwise, as well as symptoms like vision loss and headaches as the tumor pressed on surrounding tissues. Today, she is still monitored at Wolfson Children’s to ensure she stays happy and healthy.

“God’s hand has been on her since the beginning, but we also had the most talented and caring medical team who were truly dedicated to her success,” Schmidt said. At the time of her surgery, Olivia’s family didn’t know Wolfson Children’s has been consistently named among the 50 best children’s hospitals in the country by the annual U.S. News & World Report quality survey, but their baby girl’s recovery is proof that specialized care can change young lives.

Wolfson Children’s named again to U.S. News’ 50 Best Children’s Hospitals

What does that mean to parents and patients?

Jacksonville, Florida, June 26, 2018 — Today, U.S. News & World Report announced that it has ranked Wolfson Children’s Hospital among the top 50 hospitals in two specialties in its 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings: pediatric neurology & neurosurgery and pediatric cancer. Services provided at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are provided by pediatric specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, JacksonvilleUniversity of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

Michael D. Aubin, Wolfson Children’s Hospital president, said, “The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings are designed to help parents determine where they can get the best medical care for their children. Thanks to our strong partnerships with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, we are able to provide some of the best pediatric care in the nation.”

“Our team at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville values collaborating with the great staff at Wolfson Children’s and Nemours to bring the best medical care and outcomes to the children in the greater Jacksonville community and beyond,” said Mark Hudak, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UF Health Jacksonville. “By highlighting two specific programs at Wolfson Children’s, U.S. News validates the excellence that partners who work together can achieve for the benefit of children and families. The community should also understand that the programs at Wolfson Children’s that U.S. News did not explicitly recognize are also among the finest in the country.”

Gary Josephson, MD, MD, MBA, FACS, FAAP, chief medical officer of Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, said, “From injuries on the field to life-changing care, Nemours world-class physicians work tirelessly through our affiliation with Wolfson Children’s Hospital to fulfill our promise of being shared guardians of children’s health and joy. These U.S. News & World Report rankings recognize the dedication, expertise and teamwork of Nemours physicians working with Wolfson Children’s nurses and staff, as well as our research to advance the highest quality care for children and I could not be more proud.”  

U.S. News & World Report began ranking children’s hospitals in 2007 on their ability to help children, particularly those with rare or complex medical conditions such as cancer; congenital heart disease; diabetes and metabolic disorders; brain, spine and nervous system conditions; diseases of the digestive tract and more.

“The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals highlight pediatric centers that deliver state-of-the-art medical care to children with complex conditions,” said Ben Harder, chief of Health Analysis at U.S. News. “Children with life-threatening or rare conditions need the level of quality care that these hospitals deliver day after day.” How does a children’s hospital get ranked in the top 50?

One-third of each hospital’s score relates to survival, infections, surgical complications and other medical outcomes. Hospital reputation, based on an annual survey of pediatric specialists and subspecialists in each of the 10 specialties, makes up 16.7 percent, or one-sixth, of a hospital’s score. The remaining 50 percent evaluates a hospital’s commitment to safety, excellence and respect for patients. A few examples of these might include a count of specific ways in which a hospital minimizes infections, the number of fellowship programs offered and the extent to which families are involved in a child’s care. Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure volume and much more can be viewed on

Parents and caregivers have to decide for themselves whether they want to put more or less weight on particular factors, said U.S. News on their website. Ultimately, these rankings allow parents to choose their child’s health care provider based on data about a hospital’s quality of care.

For more information on the U.S. News rankings, visit Best Children’s Hospitals and use #BestHospitals on Facebook and Twitter.


Wolfson Children’s Hospital relies on the generosity of members of our community. To support Wolfson Children’s Hospital, please visit

About Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville
Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, is a part of Baptist Health, Northeast Florida’s most comprehensive health system serving every stage of life. Wolfson Children’s is the only hospital just for kids in Northeast Florida and serves as the region’s pediatric referral center. Staffed 24/7 by pediatric nurses and other healthcare professionals specially trained to work with children, the 216-bed, patient- and family-centered hospital features the latest pediatric medical technology in a welcoming, child-friendly environment. At Wolfson Children’s, nationally recognized pediatric specialists representing nearly every medical and surgical specialty work with pediatricians to provide care for children of all ages with congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and endocrinology disorders, Orthopaedic conditions, behavioral health conditions, traumatic injuries, and more. Wolfson Children’s pediatric health care partners include Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, and Mayo Clinic Florida. For additional information, please visit

About U.S. News
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News, provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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