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Oregon Family Magazine

Family Health Q & A with Dr. Kimberly Ruscher

02/02/2023 ● By Kimberly Ruscher, MD
Q:  My son was born with a genetic condition and has a lot of medical needs. It seems like every few months we’re driving to Portland to see different specialists. We would love to be able to see specialists closer to home. What pediatric specialty services does PeaceHealth offer in the Eugene area?

A: The pediatric specialties team at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend offers a wide range of services, in our hospital and outpatient clinics, for kids in the Eugene-Springfield area.

Over the past decade, our team has grown from just one pediatric surgeon to multiple surgeons, cardiologists and child life specialists. Our child life specialists help patients and their families navigate their hospital stay, and cope with trauma, loss and illness.

Our team works in tandem with the hospital-based pediatric specialists who were already supporting patients and families at RiverBend, including neonatologists (newborn specialists), pediatric hospitalists and pediatric anesthesiologists.

Our team includes pediatric trained nurses, surgical technologists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, pharmacists, radiology technicians and occupational and physical therapists – all who help take care of our patients. 

Each year, we see thousands of children in our outpatient clinics, our pediatric cardiologists see about 3,000 new patients, and our pediatric surgeons perform about 1,000 surgeries.

We care for newborns to adolescents. We have operated on patients immediately after birth to correct abnormalities of the lungs, GI tract, ovaries or testes. After surgery, these patients stay in RiverBend’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

RiverBend is the only hospital in the region offering minimally invasive surgery for newborns, children and adolescents through adulthood, pediatric cancer surgery, emergency pediatric surgery and a Pectus Center. Our Pectus Center is Oregon’s leading medical center for children and adults with pectus excavatum (a depression of the sternum or breastbone) conditions or other abnormalities of the chest wall. Without treatment, these conditions may cause serious health problems later in life.

Understanding that kids feel more comfortable and do better when the hospital offers resources just for them, community donors financed the child life team, a group of highly trained specialists who work to reduce fear and anxiety, pain and suffering for children at the hospital. In addition, our community has funded the Heartfelt House, a patient family guesthouse on the RiverBend campus, and kid-friendly makeovers of our radiology department and operating rooms

In addition to the services we provide in Eugene-Springfield, our specialists also have outreach clinics in Florence, Coos Bay, Corvallis, Bend and Roseburg.

More information about our services is available online at or call 541-222-6135.

Kimberly Ruscher, MD, is a pediatric surgeon at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.