By Governor Beebe
This past week, Arkansas Children's Hospital celebrated its 100th birthday. Founded as an orphanage in 1912, ACH has grown to become one of the nation's largest pediatric hospitals. Its doctors, nurses and other dedicated staff members care for more than 10,000 inpatient admissions and over 1,200 newborns each year. Over its century of growth and service, ACH has repeatedly been the setting for many remarkable feats in the medical field.
In 2007, neonatologists at Children's were the first in the world to use head-cooling technology to treat infants whose brains are unable to receive enough oxygen. The hospital is one of only three in the U.S. to offer a lifesaving technique of providing both cardiac and respiratory support oxygen to patients whose heart and lungs cannot properly function. In Arkansas, ACH is the only facility with a burn unit, and serves as our pediatric Level I Trauma Center. These accomplishments are possible in part because of the positive environment established at Children's amid work that can be both inspiring and emotionally trying.
The Arkansas community has supported ACH financially, as well. Every year, caring Arkansans donate generously their time and energy to Children's, and in 2004 ACH volunteers logged more hours than any other pediatric hospital in the country. For the past four years, ACH has been one of the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For."
When hospital officials announced a $160 million fundraising effort at their 100-year celebration, they also revealed that $100 million had already been raised. The money will go toward the hospital's new South Wing, featuring a state-of-the-art pediatric heart center and neonatal intensive care unit. New funding will also be available for pediatric care, research, education, and disease prevention.
As the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas, Children's is, without a doubt, a state treasure. A hospital of ACH's magnitude also helps us in our economic-development efforts, because exceptional health care is a critical component of our quality of life. The hospital's partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences works to educate our next generation of pediatric health-care professionals.
However, none of these accomplishments are on the minds of the parents, grandparents and other family members who walk through the doors at Children's. They come through those doors looking for the care, comfort and hope given to each individual child and family. On a daily basis, despair is overcome with healing and pain is replaced with relief. Not every effort results in a successful outcome, but not for a lack of skill and determination. More often than not, lives are saved and improved by the dedicated men and women at Arkansas Children's Hospital. The campus and resources at Children's will continue to grow over the next century, but its true success will continue to be measured one child at a time.