LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A day to celebrate inside the Kentucky Children’s Hospital as the facility celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton proclaimed August 23 as “Kentucky Children’s Hospital Day” and staff there got together for a small celebration.
“I stand on the back of giants like Jackie Noonan who said, ‘this is going to be a children’s hospital to serve Kentucky.'” said Dr. Scottie Day, the Children’s Hospital Physician-in-Chief. Dr. Day was referring to Jacqueline Noonan. Dr. Noonan, who passed away two years ago, was a former chair of pediatrics at KCH and a specialist in pediatric cardiology.
On this day of celebration, it was easy to see the nurses and doctors didn’t have too much time to pat one another on the back. They’d come into the conference room, grab a piece of cake, and go back to the patient floor to do the work at hand. The hospital now has 90 Neonatal ICU beds, which is up from 66 25 years ago.
“We have grown by leaps and bounds,” said Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale.
Dr. Ragsdale has been with KCH for twenty years and did a lot of her training here as a student. She’s seen what the hospital was back then, and what it has become. She’s also witnessed the eradication of certain pediatric diseases during her time here.
“Our innovation of vaccines has been really important,” she said. “There are lots of things we used to see that we no longer (see),” she explained of illnesses like chickenpox and diphtheria.
Caring for critically ill children is not easy. These staff members don’t just erase the experiences they have once they go home. Oftentimes, they have to look parents in the eye while offering a terrible diagnosis or a bleak outlook. That’s why the victories here are so meaningful, whether they are life-saving or just improving the quality of life for a young person.
“We have lots of families who come back and say, ‘look at our child, they’ve grown and are doing amazing things,'” Dr. Ragsdale said. “We love hearing those stories and it’s why we do this job,” she added.
Dr. Day spoke of the joy he gets when discharging a child from the ICU with a clean bill of health.
“It’s a celebration of life,” he said.
“We want to be known for changing future generations here in this commonwealth... and we will,” Dr. Day added.
Some would argue they’ve already been doing that for a quarter of a century.