When Kambrie Klick was in the womb, the doctors knew her life would require a fight, especially in the beginning.

Kambrie, 2, was born with a rare condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

In layman's terms, there was a hole in her diaphragm, which allowed her abdominal organs such as her intestines to move into her chest cavity. In addition, she had only one lung.

In her first two months of life, she stayed at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth where she underwent surgeries to install a synthetic patch on her diaphragm and a gastronomy button for feeding, as well as a surgery to prevent acid reflux.

Her health was the focus of her mother and father's life and remained so even after they got to bring their baby home to Van.

Her mother, Angie Klick, 35, an office manager, said the first year of Kambrie's life the family traveled from Van to Fort Worth once a month for doctor's visits. As Kambrie has gotten older, the number of doctor's visits has decreased, but they still travel to Fort Worth a few times a year.

However, families like the Klicks now have a more convenient health care option after Cook Children's opened a new specialty clinic last month in Tyler.

The clinic, which is located at 837 S. Fleishel Ave., is the newest of eight specialty clinics the integrated health care system operates outside of Tarrant County.

"Our goal really is to try to provide (families with) care close to home," Kim Epperson, Cook Children's spokeswoman, said. "To come to Fort Worth, although it may be necessary at times, it's not an easy travel for parents who have a sick or ill child. Our goal is to try to bring as much care to the family as we can in their community. That's where their support system is."

The 3,000-square-feet clinic features six exam rooms and a conference room, which are already in use, with three more exam rooms and a large multi-purpose room available for use as it expands.

As a specialty clinic, the office treats children with endocrinology disorders, hematology and oncology needs, and pediatric surgeries. The plan is to add more specialties in the future such as genetics and urology.

Physicians in the different specialties will come to the clinic one or two days a month to see children in their care.

Appointments can be conducted in the interim electronically through the use of large computer screens, phones and webcams that essentially put the doctors in the room with the patient and on-site medical professionals.

In addition, one full-time nurse and one full-time receptionist work in Tyler. Two other part-time staff including a physician's assistant with training in pediatric surgery and a pediatric nurse practitioner, who is also a certified diabetes educator, will serve the clinic.

So far, the clinic has served more than 50 new patients in the four days of clinic it has had since opening.

"Our relationship in the community is one that we hope the community will see as collaborative," Epperson said. "There are many other providers in Tyler proper, in East Texas, who provide exceptional care."

Mrs. Klick said her daughter, Kambrie, has not yet used the local clinic, but she plans to bring her there to address pressing problems, and, more often, if they have a gastroenterologist.

"It will give us peace of mind when we have any emergencies," she said.







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