Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center was founded and run by a group of philanthropic women more than 100 years ago. These progressive roots laid the foundation of exploration and innovation that continue to shape Children's today.

Much has changed in pediatric medicine during the past century, and we are proud to have been at the forefront of many of these advances.

2007 Highlights

Setting regional and national standards

  • Drs. Patrick Healey and Jorge Reyes performed the first intestine transplant in a six-state region on an 8-year-old boy who had been nourished intravenously since birth.
  • Drs. Gordon Cohen and Lester Permut became the first cardiac surgeons in the Northwest to implant a mechanical Berlin Heart in a young child. Six weeks later, the physicians successfully performed a heart transplant on the 2-year-old boy.
  • Children’s was ranked the ninth best children’s hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, moving up three places from its 12th place ranking in 2006.
  • Dr. Sihoun Hahn led Children’s Hospital’s push to expand newborn screening in Washington state, and worked to develop new tests to diagnose more congenital disorders. Under Hahn’s supervision, Children’s will have the largest biochemical genetics program in the nation to provide both clinical and laboratory services.
  • Children’s has the only pediatric anesthesia department in the nation that is training its entire team to perform both routine and advanced pediatric regional anesthesia — a type of nerve block that reduces the need for postoperative narcotics and improves control of postoperative pain and nausea.

Improving access and service

  • Children’s announced plans to expand facilities on our Seattle campus. The proposed expansion, which includes increasing the number of inpatient beds, will meet the region’s growing demand for Children’s services while ensuring that we continue to provide safe, quality care in a healing environment. In 2007, we began a two-year process with the city of Seattle and a citizen committee to create a plan that will guide development on our Seattle campus for the next 15 to 20 years.
  • Children’s is working to improve the experience of our patients, families and referring physicians by improving our service and shortening wait times. Among our successes in 2007, the Department of Child Psychiatry cut wait times for new patient appointments in half while increasing the number of new patients seen by 58%. These gains were made possible by staff efforts to simplify how referrals are processed and to standardize our process for seeing new patients.
  • In 2007, Children’s launched Guest Services, a department designed to better serve patients and families coming to the hospital. In February, a free shuttle began transporting families to and from the airport. The service has since expanded to include rides to and from the bus station, train station and hotels that don’t have shuttles. In addition, a school bus takes children staying at Ronald McDonald House to and from the school at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Discovering cures and finding better therapies

  • Drs. Andrew Scharenberg and David Rawlings are the principal investigators on the largest research grant received by Children’s in its 100-year history. The $23.7 million grant to study gene repair was awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will support the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium, led by Children’s in partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. A study led by Dr. Jim Olson showed that tumor paint is 500 times better than a standard MRI at helping surgeons distinguish between cancer cells and normal tissue. Olson and his team developed the paint, which is currently being studied in mice, from a scorpion-derived peptide called chlorotoxin.
  • Children’s further developed its downtown research campus by acquiring a second city block adjacent to the two contiguous buildings it purchased in late October 2006. Together, these properties give the Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute 2 million square feet of capacity for laboratory research.
  • Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that playing with toy blocks may improve language development in young children. In a separate study, Christakis showed that while educational videos may hinder language development in infants, they have no positive or negative effect on the vocabularies of toddlers.
  • Dr. David Rawlings identified a connection between allergic diseases and autoimmune diseases. His study implies that allergic and inflammatory diseases may trigger autoimmune diseases by relaxing the controls that normally eliminate newly produced self-reactive B cells.
  • Dr. Daniel Rubens found a strong connection between sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and an abnormality in the inner ear. Rubens’ findings may help doctors identify newborns at risk for SIDS by a simple, affordable and routine hearing test administered shortly after birth.
  • Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith learned that children in the United States fail to get recommended healthcare more than 50% of the time. The study shows that many children are not receiving preventive-care basics, such as regular height and weight measurements, nor are they receiving standard care for common ailments, such as asthma and diarrhea.

Recognizing the best people

  • The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named Dr. Colleen Delaney one of its Clinical Investigators in 2007 for the potential of her work to create a landmark breakthrough in cord blood transplantation.
  • Dr. C. Ronald Scott received the Commissioner’s Special Citation from the Food and Drug Administration for his efforts to get Orfadin approved for commercial use. Before the use of Orfadin, a majority of children with a rare genetic liver disease called tyrosinemia type I died of liver failure in infancy or of cancer of the liver in late childhood.
  • Children’s was named Large Non-profit Employer of the Year by the Washington State Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment. The award recognizes the success of Project SEARCH, a program committed to recruiting and placing individuals with developmental disabilities in entry-level positions throughout the hospital.
  • Among our pediatric specialists who received special honors in 2007 were:
    • Dr. Scott Manning, who was appointed president of the National Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology
    • Dr. Helen Emery, who received the Clinician Educator Award from the American College of Rheumatology
    • Dr. Roberta Pagon, who received the Excellence in Education Award from the American Society of Human Genetics
    • Dr. Michael Goldberg, who received the Gayle G. Arnold Lecturer Award from the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine
    • Dr. Bonnie Ramsey, who received the Alvin J. Thompson Award from the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research