I discovered this week that Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and I share a birthday, but Le Bonheur’s got a few years on me.
The Memphis area’s only comprehensive pediatric medical center this week turned 59. Wednesday’s celebration included cake, courtesy of The Le Bonheur Club, and the unveiling of a commemorative work of art near the hospital’s second-floor skybridge.
Beneath photographs of the celebration posted on Le Bonheur’s Facebook page this week, commenters shared stories about their own children and grandchildren who are alive today thanks to Le Bonheur’s staff.
Founded on June 15, 1952, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital annually treats more than 100,000 children, most of them under the age of five. Althought most patients come from a six-state referral area, they also come from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
In late December, Le Bonheur moved into its new, sustainably built $340 million, 12-story facility at 50 North Dunlap Street in the Memphis Medical District.
The new campus is 50 percent larger than the previous one, with 255 beds and room to expand. The new hospital also features cheerful, child-focused art, and brightly painted patient rooms and playrooms placed along the outer-lying areas of the building, allowing for abundant light and panoramic views of the city.
In addition, Le Bonheur has improved patient care with state-of-the-art technological improvements, including a computer-based nurse call system; a 3T intra-operative MRI that provides high-resolution images; and a 320 slice CT scanner that produces better images and emits less radiation.
“People need to understand that this is an unduplicated resource for 250 miles,” Le Bonheur President and CEO Meri Armour said when the new hospital opened. “ A 3-year-old needs a different level of care than a 30-year-old or a 70-year-old. Children’s health care is very different from adult health care, so having this kind of facility in the region is very powerful and a very positive thing for Memphis. Not every city has a children’s hospital, and kids have to go a long ways away to get special care – but you don’t here.”
Happy Birthday, Le Bonheur.