Whether it’s on the floors of the hospital or Congress, Michelle Hudspeth, M.D., shows her passion for children.
Voted as one of the 2013 Best Doctors, Hudspeth fights to find and get funding for the best possible treatments for children. Immune reconstitution after bone marrow transplant is one of her specialty areas. On average it takes a patient about six months to a year to have a normal immune system after transplant and the subsequent revaccination. In her research, Hudspeth looks for clues to determine the best timing for vaccination after transplant. Based on the quality of that research, Hudspeth was invited to speak at the 2013 American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology combined with the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium about revaccination strategies after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
Hudspeth earned her medical degree from MUSC in 1999, completing her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, followed by a fellowship there in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute. Hudspeth was recruited back to her home state and MUSC in 2007 to lead the stem cell transplant program, the only one of its kind in the state. In just one year the number of pediatric transplants increased by 125 percent, with children not having to leave their home state to receive the best care, an important cause for her.
Research shows that socioeconomic status is the biggest determinant of survival after transplant. Looking at the children of South Carolina based on zip code and income, MUSC takes care of children who are in the lowest quartile, which should predict a lower survival rate. But that’s not what’s happening in the Palmetto state. The outcomes are actually just as good as or better than national standards despite all these adverse factors.
“I want people to know that our program here at MUSC is committed to delivering the best possible care for our children and so our unofficial slogan is: Make it happen. Give us the worst of odds and our goal is to turn that around.”
Hudspeth, who testified about the drug shortage crisis at the Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives November 2011 hearing, makes time for legislative advocacy work despite her busy schedule. Hudspeth provides blood or marrow transplants to approximately 30 patients a year, with her team treating patients from almost every county in the state.
“Our goal everyday is to defy the odds. We are typically dealing with children who are in the worst of worst situations and who are facing a massive amount of obstacles. Our job every day is to get past that and make the impossible possible. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing kids walk through the door who never should’ve made it. And, that’s why our team is here. That’s what we focus on.”