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'Inside Pediatrics' TV series featuring Joplin patients premieres this week on KSN TV in Joplin

The series, narrated by actor Paul Rudd, follows the intimate stories of families at Children's Kansas City

Inside Pediatrics, a six-part documentary series narrated by Kansas City native and actor Paul Rudd, will premiere this Saturday on KSN Channel 16 in Joplin.

A year ago, Freeman Health System announced a partnership with Children's Kansas City, which opened a permanent clinic location on the Freeman campus. These pediatric specialty clinics, known as Children's Kansas City to help avoid market confusion, are an extension of Children's Mercy, a nationally ranked pediatric medical center in Kansas City, where much of Inside Pediatrics was filmed.

Coolfire Studios filmed for over three months in Kansas City and Southwest Missouri, capturing real and powerful moments from patients, families, doctors and nurses. Cameras went inside the clinics and operating rooms, inside the families' experiences and inside the hearts and minds of the medical staff that provide transformational care for the children in the Kansas City region and beyond.

"This is a very personal project for me," Rudd says. "I get to meet these remarkable kids every year when I visit Children's Mercy for our Big Slick Weekend [the annual fundraiser hosted by Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, David Koechner and Eric Stonestreet]. I don't think anyone can understand what happens every day at a hospital like this unless you're here, and you meet the families and the staff. Inside Pediatrics takes you there, and the stories are very real and powerful."

Camera crews flew with the transport team as a Southwest City, Mo., child was transported to Kansas City from Freeman Hospital West with a mysterious illness; they spent weeks at bedsides learning how families cope with the birth of a newborn whose chances are slim and how brave the tiniest patients can be; and they spoke candidly with physicians and staff about their personal triumphs and losses.

Inside Pediatrics follows 28 patients from 22 different cities, across five different states. Among them, viewers will meet Charlotte, known as "Precious," a 7-year-old girl from Carl Junction, Mo., who was born with degenerative liver disease. Charlotte and her physician, James Daniel, MD, Director, Liver Care Center at Children's Kansas City, have formed a bond. Dr. Daniel has cared for Charlotte since she was a patient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"When I first met Dr. Daniel, he had her in on one arm and her head just fit in his hand, she was so little," said Carolyn Watkins, Precious' mother. "He told me then that she might not make it."

Charlotte has been on the transplant waiting list for six months.

Viewers will also meet Chad and Joanna, who discover their unborn baby has a hole in his diaphragm causing his organs to shift, crowding his heart and lungs. The likelihood of survival with the damage to his heart and lungs is questionable. 10-year-old Julio, who travels three hours to Kansas City for treatment, had a successful kidney transplant six months prior but the disease is now attacking the transplanted kidney. Doctors introduce alternative therapies to treat him. Nilijah is a 13-year-old athlete preparing for the fall sports season when his routine physical results in a quick referral to Children's Kansas City, where cardiologists discover a mass in his heart which requires an urgent heart surgery. Viewers experience it all.

The one-hour series premiere will kick off at 9 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 10, on KSN-TV Channel 16. The full schedule of dates and times are as follows:

  • 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10 (episodes 1 and 2)
  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17 (episode 3)
  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24 (episode 4)
  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31 (episode 5)
  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7 (episode 6)

Each episode will be posted immediately after it airs to Fourstateshomepage.com.