It’s hard to believe, but the “new” Alberta Children’s Hospital is already 10 years old.
On this day in 2006, 51 of the sickest kids were loaded into ambulances and taken from the old hospital on Richmond Road to the new site on Shaganappi Trail.
Today more than 95,000 children and families rely on specialized care from the hospital, a 37 per cent increase from a decade ago.
Doctors and staff say one of the biggest developments over the last 10 years involves the approach to killing cancer in children.
“Kids did suffer a lot of sickness, spent a lot of time in hospital, and then had a lot of long-term issues,” Dr. Victor Lewis said. “The words I always used is, ‘we pushed them to death’s door, then brought them back.’”
Despite an 80 per cent cure rate, Lewis and his team wanted more. They set out to maintain the success but with less toxicity and side effects.
“We’re there,” Lewis said. Part of that approach includes post-treatment checkups at the patients’ own home.
“The increased support here, without all the chaos of putting everybody in the car, hauling them to the hospital, spending hours in waiting rooms. Just a bit of normalcy for families is like a lifeline,” registered nurse Shelaine Sebbens said.
Efforts continue to lessen the impact on a child with cancer during treatment in hospital, and to speed their recovery in the comfort of their own home.
To commemorate the birthday a number of city landmarks will be lit up in red, yellow and blue including the Calgary Tower, Langevin and St. Patrick’s bridges, McMahon Stadium and Telus Spark.