Fixing Smaller Bones

A new surgical program cares for children’s orthopedic issues.
Dralexandra Dramy 083 New

About 5,400 new babies begin their lives at Saint Peter’s University Hospital each year, and many of them continue to receive whatever medical care they may need throughout childhood. The hospital, however, was lacking in one service—until now. This October, it launched its new pediatric orthopedic surgical program at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

“We want to offer patients 24/7 care for their pediatric orthopedic injuries and problems,” says Alfred Tria, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “A tremendous number of kids come in and out of the hospital and it was time to take a serious look at this and develop this division within our department.”

“This service was really needed,” adds Bipin Patel, M.D., chair of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital. “We are very happy to provide this service to our patients and we can service area community hospitals that do not have these services as well.”

To launch the program, the hospital hired two newly minted pediatric orthopedic surgery specialists—Alexandra Kondratyeva, D.O., who completed her fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center, and Amie Kawashima, D.O., who was a fellow at Shriner’s Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Only about 30 to 40 doctors earn pediatric orthopedic surgical fellowships a year, Dr. Tria says. “We are lucky to have both Alexandra and Amie,” he says.

The surgeons treat all types of issues, including birth defects and deformities, traumatic injuries and spinal conditions such as scoliosis. “They are well trained in the full breadth of care and perform all types of surgeries,” Dr. Patel says.

“It is very rewarding working with kids,” Dr. Kondratyeva says. “You treat a variety of conditions and you can follow up with them from birth through age 20. You can’t do that in adult specialties.” Dr. Kawashima likes caring for children because “you never know what they are going to say.” Treatments for children are different than for adults, she says, “so we believe that it is important to keep parents well-informed about their kids’ care.”

The program will continue to grow over the next six to 12 months, and Dr. Tria says they hope to hire another pediatric orthopedic surgeon in 2017. “We have added this program for the community to establish Saint Peter’s ability to provide 100 percent care for all pediatric problems,” Dr. Tria says.


To find out more about services available for you or your family at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, please call 732.745.8600 or visit

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Categories: Central Jersey Health & Life, Homepage Features, Hospital Features