Even though our annual campaign to collect funds to permit the administration of free medical care to improvished youngsters fills these pages for just over two months, Children's Hospital seems to find its way into print all year long.
As one of the country's 16 national medical centers, news-making research and the pioneering of innovative medical and surgical tecnhniques are just about everyday occurences at the hospital. Advances in the realm of mental health are almost as common.
But there's nothing common about the degree of care and skill that makes Children's Hospital one of the most highly regarded pediatric facilities in the nation. This year, as usual, the number of cases referred to Children's from other parts of the country has risen dramatically. That's testimony to the mounting faith doctors elsewhere have in the hospital, its staff and their capabilities, and the equipment there.
So the hospital stays in the news the year round. Here's a sampling from the year 1980.
The first news item involving Children's Hospital was, and is, one that demands attention. Officials and doctors at the hospital became alarmed due to a "sudden, unexplained increase in the number of children . . . who have died recently as the suspected victims of child abuse." c
There's not too much the hospital can do to prevent child abuse, but "police and local hospital officials usually refer their more serious cases to Children's Hospital because of the facility's national reputation."
The hospital initiated a study by its Child Protection Center in an attempt to determine the causes of child abuse. The CPC provides intensive services to battered, sexually abused, neglected and "high risk" children and their families. The center also provides community education services to other area health care organizations and emphasized education of parents as the best way to protect children from abuse.
The next item concerned the appearance of the flu in Washington and the surrounding area, and reported that many respiratory and intestinal illnesses are similar to influenza, but there's only one "real thing." So far, influenza has not been a problem in the metropolitan area this winter.
The article did indicate, however, the important work in virology that occurs all year in the research laboratories at Children's. Pinpointing the causitive agent in an illness is often the major step towards treatment and recovery.
Several articles appeared hearlding new advances in infant heart surgery taking place at Children's. Last Febraury, pediatric surgeons performed for the 100th time the surgical repair of an infant heart condition characterized by a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart.
Open heart surgery is being done on younger children all the time, according to staff Dr. Frank M. Midgley. He said that as doctors were forced to do something at a littler higher risk, and found they could do it safely, it became routine.
Such advances come about, said Midgley, the hospital's chief of heart surgery because physicians take a chance and operate on children whose only other choice is death. In this way, doctors learn what can and cannot be done for such young children.
Some of the other news coming out of Children's dealt with patients at the older end of the age scale at the hospital. The department of adolescent medicine made the paper with this advice:
"Conversation and listening may be as important as X-rays and pills in adolescent care."
Children's Hospital maintains an adolescent fellowship program designed to help allay the fears felt by teen-agers and to address the "emotional needs of teen-agers during illness and injury." The program also seeks to "integrate the physical and emotional part of an illness to understand the patient."
A final piece of news leaves us on a happy note. Just two weeks ago, Bob Hope stopped in at Children's Hospital to kick-off the 1980 Christmas Seal campaign for the American Lung Association. Hope is this year's campaign chairman, and the beloved comedian was instantly swamped by scores of youthful autograph hunters.
"What a great place to come to if you're a kid and have to be sick," said an obviously impressed Hope. He said the hospital "doesn't look like a hospital at all."
That's telling 'em, Bob!