On this day 25 years ago, hospital staff and pediatric patients donned bright pink t-shirts that said "I opened the doors" and made their way into the brand-new Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. The smallest of the 87 patients to make the move to the new building was a 1 lb, 12 oz baby; the staff also moved 90,000 patient records and 75 teddy bears, and ate 210 pizzas.
Today, as the hospital community looks forward to next year's opening of a large expansion that will more than double the size of the existing building, several people are also looking back at what the hospital has meant to them over the years. In the new edition of Lucile Packard Children's News, the quarterly magazine of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, a few former patients reflect:
- Christie Chaudry remembers being grateful to see the familiar face of her oncologist, Michael Link, MD, when she arrived at the new hospital as a teenager in the midst of leukemia treatment
- Shannon Ivarson describes how surprised and happy she was to realize that her premature twins had the same neonatologist, Philip Sunshine, MD, who had cared for her when she herself was a premature baby
- 10-year old Doris Diaz and her mom, Corina, share the positive impact of Doris's lung transplant
- Former cancer patient Lydia Lee, who was 6 when the hospital opened, says she and her husband, Daniel, have just had their first child, a baby girl named Paige.
It's a great reminder of how stellar pediatric care helps kids grow up and move beyond the label of "patient" to build healthier, happy new lives. Chaudry, now a pediatric nurse practitioner who has joined Link in caring for young oncology patients, puts it best when she says, "Lucile Packard didn't give me back my old identity. She protected my ability to forge a new one."
Previously: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford celebrates 25 years, "I opened the doors:" A look back at two special babies and The spark of a cancer revolution
Photo, of Christie Chaudry holding a snapshot of herself as a teenage leukemia patient, by Norbert von der Groeben/courtesy of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health