First Heart Transplant
Children’s heart surgeons
On October 26, 1994, a 12-year-old boy from Everett, Washington, undergoes the first heart transplant at Children's, and heads home three weeks later.
A "Regional" Change
Cherry blossoms on Children’s campus circa 1997
Two years after the re-engineering consultants predict that Children’s will close if it does not shrink, the hospital cannot keep up with demand for its inpatient beds, outpatient clinics and regional services.
In June 1997, the hospital sends a new message to the community. The old sign at its entrance is replaced to read “Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.”
TOBI to the Rescue
Dr. Bonnie Ramsey with patient
In 1978, Dr. Arnold Smith comes to Children's to head the Infectious Disease program. He begins to investigate the use of antibiotics to fight the infections that threaten cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. He identifies the antibiotic tobramycin (TOBI) as the most effective drug; however, the needed dose can cause serious damage to children if injected intravenously.
Smith concludes that administering the antibiotic in aerosol form can deliver the medicine directly to the lungs without any collateral damage and significantly increase the life expectancy of CF patients.
He and Dr. Bonnie Ramsey launch a clinical trial with patients from Ramsey's CF Clinic. Excellent results led them to launch Phase II at clinics around the nation. The results are remarkable and in 1993 Smith and Ramsey publish their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In 1997 — fully 10 years after Dr. Smith first thought of aerosolizing the antibiotic — the Food and Drug Administration approves TOBI. In 2003, Children's sells the patent for TOBI for $11.8 million to Drug Royalty Corporation Inc.
An Alliance of Giants
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance building
By the early 1990s, Children's has a small bone marrow transplant program. CEO Treuman Katz and Medical Director John Neff envision an alliance among Children's, the University of Washington Academic Medical Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to leverage research-based cancer therapies and better coordinate ongoing research efforts.
After years of discussions, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance opens on October 22, 1997, with the following split in responsibilities: The Hutch manages research and operates a seven-story, $150 million outpatient clinic (finished in 2001); the University of Washington Medical Center cares for adult patients; and Children's treats pediatric patients.
Today, as part of our affiliation with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Children's treats approximately 250 new pediatric cancer cases each year, with some of the highest survival outcomes in the nation.