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Frederick and Mary McCoy Foundation donates $1.2 Million to Children's Mercy

The gift establishes the Frederick J. McCoy Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic and the Dr. Frederick J. McCoy Endowed Fund for Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Research

The Frederick and Mary McCoy Foundation pledges $1.2 million to Children's Mercy to enhance the hospital's cleft and craniofacial programs.

Dr. Frederick McCoy started his career at Children's Mercy in 1957 and became its Chief of the Section of Plastic Surgery. He developed the Plastic Surgery Training program in the community and was also a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Under his leadership, a multidisciplinary Cleft Palate Clinic was established in 1962 and a Craniofacial Clinic in 1970.

"Dr. McCoy's donation will provide ongoing support for research, education and pave the way for new, improved treatments for children we see in the cleft and craniofacial clinic," Shao Jiang, MD, medical director of the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at Children's Mercy. "With this gift, we are able to expand and advance our pediatric medical research that will transform our patients' lives through breakthroughs in treatment and diagnosis."

"Dr. McCoy's interest, determination and devotion to caring for children with these difficult physical and psychosocial anomalies paved the way for delivery of world-class pediatric medicine and research to the children of our region," says Charles C. Roberts, MD, Executive Medical Director at Children's Mercy. "As a surgical innovator and caring practitioner, Dr. McCoy's legacy will forever be part of our shared mission at Children's Mercy: to give every child in our region access to the best, most sensitive pediatric care available."

Kari Niebaum had an uneventful pregnancy until her 20-week ultrasound, when her worst fear emerged. The routine ultrasound revealed some of the tell-tale signs, but a perinatologist visit confirmed the diagnosis: cleft lip and possible cleft palate. Despite the genetic link putting them at increased odds, the news still came as a shock.

"We were devastated with the diagnosis," Kari said. "It made the last half of the pregnancy really anxious. We kept thinking, 'why do we have to go through this when other people are having healthy babies?'"

Kari, who is also a care assistant at Children's Mercy, and her husband, David, met with a team of clinical specialists at Children's Mercy who talked through the diagnosis, presented treatment options, and created a detailed care plan. Though the cleft lip diagnosis was certain, they would have to wait until Lilian was born to know whether the roof of her mouth was also affected.

Lilian was born May 17, 2012. Right away, there was good news. While Lilian did have a cleft lip, her palate was just fine. This meant she would likely need just one surgery to correct the issue. 

Dr. Jiang recommended using a pre-operative device called a Nasoalveolar Molding.

The orthopaedic appliance is gradually adjusted to realign some of the cleft issues, laying the groundwork for a better surgical outcome. Lilian was fitted with the device at five weeks old, and it was kept in place until she reached 5 1/2 months. Dr. Jiang determined Lilian was ready for surgery. And the results - picture perfect.

"We were all very pleased," Kari said. "Lilian had great results."

Read more about Lilian's story.

Each year, Children's Mercy treats more than 150 patients in Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Programs. Children's Mercy provides full programs in Missouri and Kansas and treats more patients each year than any other hospital in the region.

About Children's Mercy
Children's Mercy, located in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The 354-bed hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 21, and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals." For the third time in a row, Children's Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of 600 pediatricians and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists.