1. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: It's the only hospital in the country to be a member of all three government-funded groups that conduct experimental research for pediatric cancer. Its findings have led to treatments for neuroblastoma, and are providing clues about new therapies for leukemia, brain tumors, and sarcomas (tumors that develop in soft bone tissues).
2. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis: It provides complimentary state-of-the-art care for some of the sickest cancer patients from across the country. Despite treating some of the most stubborn cases, a young patients' chances of being cured are excellent, including a 93% five-year survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the best of our survey.
3. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston: Its high survival rates are complemented by tremendous comfort and support for cancer patients and their families. The staff includes six psychologists, eight social workers, and four full-time child life specialists (trained professionals who help relieve a patient's anxiety through play and education).
4. Children's Hospital Boston: The hospital is conducting further studies on a form of chemotherapy it developed that is much easier on the patient. Early results show it is very effective on 25% of hard-to-treat cases. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which is given through IVs, Boston's approach is administered orally, requiring fewer visits to the hospital.
5. (tie) Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: It enrolls 91% of its eligible cancer patients in studies -- one of the highest percentages in our survey -- and employs a 26-member family support team for its cancer patients. This team includes nine social workers, six child life specialists (trained professionals who help relieve a patient's anxiety through play and education), and two psychologists.
5. (tie) Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: The facility's cancer specialists are enrolling patients with high-risk gliomas, a particularly difficult-to-treat brain tumor, in a novel study that includes the insertion of a gene into healthy blood cells. The goal is to make them resistant to the damage that is usually caused by high doses of chemotherapy.
Runners-Up: 7. Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland; 8. The Children's Hospital, Denver; 9. Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center, Seattle; and 10. Columbus Children's Hospital
1. Children's Hospital Boston: The hospital is conducting 74 cardiac-related studies, among the most in our survey. Among its research accomplishments: the development of innovative tissue engineering techniques to avoid the need for pacemakers and artificial heart valves.
2. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: In addition to performing more than 375 complex cardiac surgeries in-house in 2005, the hospital sent a team of heart specialists to nearby facilities to operate at the bedsides of nearly 100 premature infants with Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a condition in which the vessel that allows blood to bypass the baby's lungs before birth fails to close normally.
3. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: The facility is a leader in the field of cardiac genetics, conducting research to help explain the development of congenital heart disease and identify genotypes in patients with certain heart conditions. This will enable doctors to predict whether patients are at a greater risk of death or more likely to require a heart transplant, knowledge that will facilitate their care.
4. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston: In 2004 and 2005, its heart surgeons performed 83 extremely risky operations -- and only three patients died, one of the best survival rates of our survey.
5. The Children's Hospital, Denver: The hospital is a leader in pediatric heart transplants, with three-year survival rates around 85% and shorter-than-average patient stays.
Runners-Up: 6. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City; 7. University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor; 8. Children's Hospital Wisconsin; 9. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and 10. Children's Medical Center Dallas
1. Columbus Children's Hospital: Although the emergency department waiting area is comfortable -- stocked with toys, books, and even extra clothing for children -- families don't spend a lot of time there. Even patients with the least severe problems wait less than 45 minutes to be seen by a doctor -- about half that of typical pediatric ERs -- and if a child needs to be admitted, he'll be in his room within 40 minutes, the shortest time in our survey.
2. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: A roomier, 75-bed emergency department opened in 2005, reducing crowding and offering three decontamination quarters to safeguard patients in the event of a bio-terrorism attack.
3. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Nurses automatically contact the family or guardians of all patients treated in the emergency department to check on their health, answer questions, and review discharge instructions.
4. Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Kansas City: It conducts disaster drills twice a month -- the best of our survey -- and has found that music and aromatherapy can help reduce stress in the waiting room.
5. The Children's Hospital, Denver: This facility offers the first pediatric emergency department in the country to immediately treat the pain of a broken leg by routinely performing nerve blocks.
Runners-Up: 6. The Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville; 7. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; 8. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; 9. Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital in Charleston; and 10. Miami Children's Hospital
1. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: It treats extremely sick babies; in 2005 alone, 518 babies were transferred from other hospitals that have a high-level neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). What's more, its survival rates are phenomenal, with more than 90% of infants being discharged.
2. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: In 2005, this hospital's survival rate for infants who needed to be placed on a heart lung bypass machine was 88% -- above the national average of 76%.
3. Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital: In addition to high survival rates, an innovative pilot program to support the mental health and well-being of parents whose infants are in the NICU. The medical team includes a counselor, who is available to meet privately with a parent or with the infant's parents and doctors.
4. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: This hospital is one of a handful of pediatric facilities to perform a specialized procedure to deliver babies with breathing problems. Doctors partially deliver the baby allowing the umbilical cord to remain attached, while a surgeon repairs the airway so the infant, can breathe independently.
5. Columbus Children's Hospital: Its neonatal center, the largest in the nation, is conducting innovative research to help understand and prevent feeding problems in preemies.
Runners-Up: 6. St. Louis Children's Hospital; 7. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston; 8. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, CA; 9. Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis; and 10. The Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville
1. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The hospital's unique Musculoskeletal Center brings together orthopedic doctors with those from 10 other pediatric specialties to treat limb deformities, spina bifida, scoliosis, and more.
2. Children's Hospital Boston: Its orthopedic specialists are leading a study to develop a standard for all hospitals performing surgery on patients whose brachial plexus -- the set of nerves that go from the neck to the fingers -- were damaged during delivery.
3. The Children's Hospital, Denver: It boasts a very active sports medicine clinic, which provides injury prevention programs and on-field medical coverage.
4. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: The facility has the most experience of any pediatric hospital in the country in performing two procedures to prevent arthritis in hemophilia patients whose excessive bleeding is beginning to damage their joints.
5. Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego: The hospital is conducting 46 orthopedic studies, including those on preventing fractures, and developing a new form of scoliosis surgery.
Runners-Up: 6. Columbus Children's Hospital; 7. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; 8. St. Louis Children's Hospital; 9. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and 10. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston
1. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: It's home to one of the few pediatric sleep centers in the country accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. In a recent evaluation, the center was described as "the standard against which all pediatric programs in sleep medicine should be judged."
2. St. Louis Children's Hospital: It is one of two centers in the country participating in all three federal asthma management and research networks; as a result, its rate of unplanned readmissions to the hospital or return to the emergency department because of asthma is very low.
3. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston: The hospital boasts one of the few programs in the country for kids with pulmonary hypertension, (high blood pressure in the artery that supplies the lungs).
4. Columbus Children's Hospital: It created the first device that allows doctors to measure lung function in infants and joined with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to manufacture it for other children's hospitals.
5. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: The hospital has established "Team CF," to increase quality of life for cystic fibrosis patients; 11 studies are underway.
Runners-Up: 6. The Children's Hospital, Denver; 7. Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis; 8. Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland; 9. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; and 10. Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago