“Kids Are Not Just Little Adults”

Chris O'Brien

Photo by Lauren Asselmeyer, courtesy of WMCHealth

Meet Dr. Chris O’Brien, pediatric hospitalist with Maria Fareri Children’s Healthcare Services at MidHudson Regional Hospital.

By Laurie Yarnell

From a young age growing up in Glens Falls, NY, Chris O’Brien, MD, knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. As an undergrad at Siena College in Albany he volunteered at Albany Medical Center in the pediatric unit. As he read books and played games with the young patients in the hospital, he realized pediatrics was his calling. “Kids are so much fun,” he says. “They always say the funniest things, even in the toughest times or when they are not feeling like themselves. You can see they are very resilient.

Upon graduating from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Dr. O’Brien became board-certified in pediatrics and later joined Maria Fareri Children’s Healthcare Services at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of Westchester Medical Center Health Network.

While Dr. O’Brien primarily handles in-patient care, he also consults with patients in the Emergency Department.

Dr. O’Brien says that being the father of a 7-year-old and newborn has made him a better doctor. “Now, when I give advice, I know from firsthand experience how hard it can be raising children, especially when they are sick,” he says. His advice to parents is to have their children see a pediatrician, rather than a regular doctor. “Kids are not just little adults,” he says. “They have some specific characteristics. Take respiratory infections for instance, which is a big part of pediatric care, you want your child to see a provider who has had a lot of experience with respiratory infections in kids. If respiratory complications are not picked up in the early stages, that may lead to further complications.”

When it comes to the type of questions Dr. O’Brien typically receives from parents and patients, he says, “The parents want to know what is going on, what causes it, how it should be treated, and if it can happen again. The children just want to know when they’ll feel better again.”

When asked about his experience working with Maria Fareri Children’s Healthcare Services Dr. O’Brien praises his pediatric colleagues stating, “our providers and nursing staff have many years of experience in pediatrics, and they really care about kids, which translates into better care. Not only are they dedicated and committed; many of them have been Hudson Valley residents for a long time and know their local communities.”