100 Years

1998 to 2002: Going Lean

The Skipping Surgeon

The Skipping Surgeon A clown from Children’s Clown Care Unit entertains a patient  

On an ordinary day in 1998, Drs. Bonky and LeFou from the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit bring their special brand of laughter to the Day Surgery Clinic waiting room.

After trying repeatedly to get Dr. Bonky to skip across the room while she plays "Skip to M'Lou" on the concertina, Dr. LeFou begs a surgeon watching from the doorway of the clinic area for help.

Without blinking an eye, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound surgeon checks his little black book, announces that he has no appointments right then and proceeds to skip happily around the waiting room to the strains of concertina music. As he finishes, the waiting room erupts in applause.

Before leaving the area, the clowns present red noses to all the children. Suddenly, Dr. LeFou feels a tap on her arm. There, beckoning the clown to come closer, is a very proper Japanese grandmother who hasn't cracked a smile the entire time.

"May I have a red nose, too?" the grandmother asks.

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift Children’s patient Coe Richards  

In July 1999, Dr. Patrick Healey performs the region's first living-donor liver transplant on a two-and-a-half-year-old boy. Patient Coe Richards from Kingston, Washington, receives a portion of his mother's liver in the coordinated surgery performed by transplant teams from the University of Washington Medical Center and Children's.

Going Lean

Going Lean Children’s nurses retrieve supplies from an automated Omnicell medical supply unit  

Beginning in the early 2000, the hospital undergoes a major cultural shift by using Toyota Production System Principles — often referred to as lean processing — to increase patient safety, improve family satisfaction, streamline work flow and reduce costs. Children's physicians and staff members call this effort Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI).

In March 2005, the board of trustees unanimously approves a plan for a new governance structure that reflects Children's increased emphasis on patient safety, corporate compliance and quality. A new board Quality Committee integrates all of the quality improvement initiatives throughout the hospital.

By summer 2006, physicians and faculty participate in more than 80 quality improvement events. The workshops last from three to five days and are designed to rapidly identify, test and implement improvements in all areas of a defined process in order to remove system waste and create more value for patients.

Becoming Whole

Becoming Whole Children’s patients Charity and Kathleen Lincoln  

When Vaneice Lincoln is 8 weeks pregnant, she learns that the twin daughters she is carrying are conjoined from the sternum to the pelvis and share a common leg and many vital organs.

Seven months after the girls are born at the University of Washington Medical Center, Charity and Kathleen are strong enough to undergo a surgical separation procedure at Children's.

The surgical team, headed by Dr. John Waldhausen, includes 30 physicians, nurses and technicians. On a September day in 2000, the team works for 31 hours to complete the delicate surgery that separates the girls' commingled organs, bones, blood vessels, nerves and tissues. Their shared leg is amputated.

In February 2002, the happy, active toddlers celebrate their second birthday. Though they each have one leg and face some physical challenges, the girls are crawling and learning to walk with walkers.

Charity and Kathleen's father, Greg Lincoln, comments, "It's tough to be in the public eye, but we're happy to tell our story. We're so thankful for everything Children's has done for us."

An Important Finding

An Important Finding A Children’s patient gets a sip of water  

In 2001, Dr. Phil Tarr, a pediatric gastroenterologist, and his research team at Children's, radically change how kids around the world are treated for E. coli bacterial infection. Tarr shows that antibiotics are ineffective and even harmful to patients. More importantly, he shows that hydration of infected patients leads to better outcomes and saves lives.

Tarr's findings are so significant that the New England Journal of Medicine publishes them as a standalone article rather than waiting for the next regularly scheduled issue.

A Long Overdue Campaign

A Long Overdue Campaign A Children’s researcher  

In 2001, Children's embarks on its first major campaign in more than 25 years to raise funds for facilities, uncompensated care and research — elements that support the board's vision of being the best pediatric hospital.

Melinda French Gates chairs The Campaign for Children's — Fulfilling the Promise. 

The Children's Hospital Foundation and board of trustees launch the first phase of the $300 million comprehensive fundraising campaign with private donors.

The second (public) phase of the The Campaign for Children's launches in January 2006.

Consolidating the Troops

Consolidating the Troops The child care center at Children’s 70th and Sand Point building  

In January 2002, Children's consolidates many of its administrative functions into a newly constructed building two miles north of the hospital.

Prior to this consolidation, many departments such as the Children's Hospital Foundation, Human Resources, Information Services, Business Services, Finance and Marketing and Communications are scattered among leased facilities in neighborhoods near the hospital.

A new child care center, a highlight of the new facility, is open to the children of all staff members.