When Rebecca Wilson of the Children’s Miracle Network handed me a tiny blood pressure strap I nearly broke down right then and there, in a hospital hallway. Small enough to wrap around my pinkie, this strap is one of many keys to saving the lives of premature babies (or preemies, as they are affectionately called) that most facilities don’t keep in regular stock.
The Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland has been using specially designed equipment like this for nearly 100 years as one of the country’s most renowned childcare-centric hospitals. The humble campus is the only hospital of its kind in its entire region, with young patients literally being flown in via helicopter to receive the kinds of care they can’t receive anywhere else. (Side note: the hospital’s helipad is awesome.)
Children’s, the first dedicated ‘baby hospital’ in the West, was founded on the ideal that no child would ever be turned away. This ideal has not been lost in the better part of a century that the hospital has been operating. From cancer to sickle cell disease all the way to AIDS/HIV, Children’s lives up to its founders’ dreams. In fact the very first case of AIDS/HIV found in a child was treated here.
The hospital boasts one of the single highest retention rates staff, despite being a 100% not for profit organization. Rebecca shared with me a story of a young girl who was told by one hospital that following an accident her foot needed to be amputated, but at Children’s the doctor took the risk to actually treat this patient and attempt reconstruction despite the challenges and cost involved. Again, no child is turned away, even for a lack of funds or insurance coverage. Treatment before profit. Health before business.
Last week I had the privilege of joining GaymerConnect on a tour of this amazing place as part of our joint support for it via an event known as Extra Life.