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Urgent Care

Children aren’t just little adults

When kids are ill or injured, they need and deserve to be cared for by experts in pediatric medicine — experts with experience addressing the unique needs and challenges of sick or injured children. That’s why Southcoast has developed a clinical collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital, the top-ranked pediatric hospital in the United States, to provide enhanced local access to high-quality nursery care to babies born at Southcoast’s hospitals as well as inpatient and emergency pediatric care to children and families across the region at St. Luke’s Hospital.

This program is built on the foundation of providing truly collaborative patient care and keeping care local. Boston Children’s physicians work with local physicians to provide hospital-based pediatric services for Southcoast Hospitals, enhancing quality and access to pediatric care for families in our region.

Nursery Care at Southcoast

Our clinical collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital starts with our youngest, most vulnerable patients. Boston Children’s physicians staff our Level II nurseries at Charlton Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital as well as the nurseries at St. Luke’s Hospital and Tobey Hospital.

Inpatient and Emergency Care at St. Luke’s Hospital

Boston Children’s pediatricians are on site at St. Luke’s Hospital’s dedicated inpatient children’s unit. They work with you, your child and your child’s primary care provider to make sure your child gets the pediatric inpatient care they need, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, our nurses who care for pediatric patients are all specially trained in pediatrics.

The pediatric unit at St. Luke’s Hospital features 22 inpatient beds, staffed for 12 patients, so families can stay with their children in oversized rooms. The pediatric unit and was designed with kids and families in mind: a family room, kid-friendly décor, family accommodations and an ample supply of toys and video games help make the unit a comfortable place for children and their families.

Emergency Services

If your child comes to the St. Luke’s Emergency Department, we mobilize all of our available child- and family-centered resources to provide you with child-centric care in the most efficient manner possible. We have created a separate, dedicated waiting area and treatment space for children within the Emergency Department, so our smallest patients can receive the special emergency care they need in a comforting and safe environment and away from the hustle and bustle of a busy Emergency Department.

As always, excellent emergency care for children is also available at Tobey Hospital in Wareham and Charlton Memorial in Fall River, and the emergency physicians there are able to consult remotely with the Boston Children’s physicians at St. Luke’s at any time. If the decision is made to admit a pediatric emergency patient who can be safely cared for in the South Coast community, he or she will be transferred to the pediatric inpatient unit at St. Luke’s.

Consultation Services

The Boston Children’s physicians at St. Luke’s Hospital are not only able to provide on-site care, but are also able to consult with Boston Children’s specialists. If needed, a patient’s radiology images and other clinical documents can be sent electronically to Boston Children’s main campus, so the physicians on-site at Southcoast can have real-time remote consultations with their counterparts in Boston.


Our collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital also provides access to pediatric training and educational support programs for Southcoast physicians, nurses and ancillary departments. With tools like high-fidelity simulation, Boston Children’s teams support local staff by training for high-risk, low-frequency pediatric and neonatal emergencies. St. Luke’s Hospital is a training site for Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation Programs.

Meet the Team

Southcoast’s pediatric team is made up of a dedicated group of physicians, nurses and support staff with the single focus of caring for your child.

The Boston Children’s physicians who make up the team at Southcoast have trained and worked at some of the top educational and medical institutions in the nation. This team works closely with the child’s family and local primary care provider to deliver high-quality, integrated care. Our nurses have a wealth of experience in caring for children, and all pediatric inpatient nurses have been certified in pediatric advanced life support.

Learn more about the physician leaders of this program.

Brian E. Sard, MD, Chair of Pediatrics
Dr. Sard oversees delivery of pediatric and newborn care across Southcoast Health, collaborating closely with clinical leadership in neonatology, obstetrics and other departments, as well as administrative leaders at both Southcoast Health and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Sard is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. Before joining Southcoast, he practiced pediatric emergency medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Athena Xifaras, MD, Division Chief of Inpatient Pediatrics
Dr. Xifaras is responsible for monitoring clinical quality standards that are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Boston Children’s Hospital, amongst other nationally accepted guidelines to deliver the highest quality of pediatric care to the region, and for coordinating pediatric care both within the St. Luke’s pediatric program and with community providers across Southcoast Health.

Dr. Xifaras is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. She completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She is board certified in pediatrics and counts pediatric obesity and quality improvement among her professional interests. Dr. Xifaras currently serves as a member of the City of New Bedford’s Board of Health.

Linda A. Bishop, MD, FAAP
Dr. Bishop attended the Duke University School of Medicine after receiving her undergraduate degree at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She then completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Bishop’s clinical interests include general pediatrics and hospital medicine. Dr. Bishop is board certified in pediatrics.

Sara Gonzalez, DO
Dr. Gonzalez received her medical from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, California, after receiving her undergraduate degree from University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. Fluent in Haitian Creole, Dr. Gonzalez completed a Global Pediatric Fellowship in Health Service Delivery with Boston Children’s Hospital in Saint Marc, Haiti. She is board certified in pediatrics.

Jane DeSisto Harrity, MD
Dr. Harrity received her Bachelor of Arts from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. She went on to earn her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her Pediatric Internship at Boston Medical Center and her Pediatric Residency at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Harrity is Board Certified in Pediatrics and her areas of clinical interest include pediatric emergency medicine, general pediatrics and newborn medicine.

Michael A. Moffat, MD
Dr. Moffat earned his undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and went on to receive his medical degree at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan. He then completed his residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Oakland in Oakland, California. As a Pediatric Hospitalist, Dr. Moffat’s areas of clinical interest are hospital-based medicine and general pediatrics. He speaks Spanish and French.

Kathleen M. Petillo, DO
Dr. Petillo received her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. She completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in affiliation with the University of Buffalo. Her clinical interests include adolescent medicine and research that includes bronchiolitis.

Andrew Sechler, MD
Dr. Sechler earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan. He completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. He has extensive global health experience in South America and Africa, and currently helps lead a Harvard-affiliated program in Liberia. His clinical interests include rural health care delivery, tropical medicine and travel medicine. Dr. Sechler is fluent in Spanish.

Steve Tjoe-Fat, MD
Dr. Tjoe-Fat received his undergraduate degree from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, and earned his medical degree at Tufts Medical School in Boston. He completed his Pediatric residency at Boston Medical Center. He is Board Certified in Pediatrics and his clinical interests include emergency medicine and hospital medicine. Dr. Tjoe-Fat is fluent in Dutch.

Myles D. Webster, MD
Dr. Webster earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He went on to complete an internship in general surgery at Rhode Island Hospital, as well as an internship and residency in pediatrics at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dr. Webster’s clinical interests include pulmonology and infectious diseases.