Tiffany Patton, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, now offers gastroenterology services at the new Outpatient Clinic on Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Evergreen Park campus, which opened its doors in September of 2015.
“As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I diagnose and treat all conditions that affect the digestive system in children, including acid reflux, abdominal pain, constipation, food allergies, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and much more,” Dr. Patton says.
“EoE is caused by an undiagnosed food allergy, which leads to inflammation within the lining of the esophagus,” Dr. Patton says. “Over time, the inflammation can cause scarring in the esophagus and make it difficult for a child to swallow. When it goes on for many years, it can cause problems with eating and may need to be repaired surgically.”
Unfortunately, the reality is that children with EoE often go many years without receiving a diagnosis. The symptoms of EoE, including chest pain, vague abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and acid reflux, are very subtle and can be mistaken for different health conditions or brushed off as nothing at all, Dr. Patton explains.
That’s why Dr. Patton urges families who have any concerns about their child’s gastrointestinal symptoms or eating habits to make an appointment at the new Outpatient Clinic.
Kids with EoE tend to be picky eaters because of the discomfort they experience while eating certain foods, she says. The most common culprits of EoE symptoms also are the most common causes of food allergies in general: They include cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts and fish.
“When treating EoE, we may use a combination of eliminating certain foods and, when necessary, oral steroid therapy to reduce inflammation in the esophagus,” Dr. Patton says.
Dr. Patton feels especially grateful to be joining the team at the Outpatient Clinic. That’s because Dr. Patton was actually born at Little Company of Mary Hospital. “In many ways, it feels like a homecoming,” she says. “I love giving back, and I see offering my services as an opportunity to give back to this community.”
She also is looking forward to watching the new pediatric clinic grow over time. “It’s a one-stop shop for patients,” she says. “Especially for families who need to see several different practitioners, it takes a lot of anxiety out of the experience. They can come here where they feel comfortable and see the doctors they need to see.”
With many different doctors under one roof, physicians are able to easily communicate with one another and work together as a team to treat patients. “It’s really the only way to practice these days,” Dr. Patton says.
“Every parent wants the best for their child,” she adds. “Now, the new clinic makes it more convenient for families to get the care that their children need.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Tiffany Patton, or another pediatric subspecialist at the Outpatient Clinic (Mary Potter Physicians Pavilion, Suite 12), call 1-844-UCM-LCMH (1-844-826-5264). For more information, please visit www.LCMH.org/UCM.