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More Than 1,000 Children's Memorial Hospital Patients, Physicians, Elected Officials, Donors and Staff Gather to Break Ground on the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

CHICAGO, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ground was broken on the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago today following remarks from Children's Memorial Hospital patients, philanthropist and transformational donor Ann Lurie, hospital leadership and public officials (First Lady Maggie Daley, Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Danny Davis and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.). The 288-bed hospital, located at 225 E. Chicago Avenue directly west of Northwestern Memorial's new Prentice Women's Hospital, is expected to open in 2012.

"This new facility represents our forward-thinking on behalf of future generations. New risks to children's health loom in the future, some that we can predict, others that may stagger us. That is why it is ever more important that we act today for what will come tomorrow," said Patrick Magoon, president and CEO.

The hospital will feature 12 beds dedicated to clinical research, an essential factor in speeding translation of research from the laboratory to the bedside and giving children access to the most advanced treatments. It will also include one of the nation's first pediatric comprehensive cardiac care units to keep children with heart problems in the same room with the same caregivers from admission to discharge.

Designed to be a "green hospital" to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, it will have all private rooms with space for at least one parent to sleep overnight and a "sky lobby" on the 11th and 12th floors to provide enhanced security for inpatient units and views of Chicago and Lake Michigan for patients and visitors.

"Today we are making history," said J. Christopher Reyes, Chairman of Children's Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. "We are part of this journey for one reason: to improve the lives of our most precious resource, our children. Together we are making a great investment that will benefit our children and our communities for generations to come."

Children's Memorial must turn away a significant number of critically ill children each year because an appropriate bed is not available. The new facility will increase capacity by 30 percent. Its location on the campus of partner medical school, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, will help Children's Memorial to continue to recruit and retain top physicians and scientists and better facilitate collaboration between pediatric and adult researchers. Its adjacency to Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital will offer convenience for families and direct clinical interaction to benefit newborns. Proximity to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital will improve transitional care for children with chronic illnesses into adult care.

"This is a momentous day in Illinois. We break ground on a genuinely modern and progressive facility committed to caring for the most vulnerable of our society -- our children. Families and children from around the world come to Children's Memorial to get the treatment they need," said Governor Blagojevich. "The hospital will help provide thousands of new jobs and re-emphasize that Illinois is a leader when it comes to quality heath care. The generosity of Ms. Lurie is truly inspirational and I applaud her for her compassionate gift."

Today's groundbreaking ceremony featured several patients of Children's Memorial from across Illinois, including children who have had cancer, a liver transplant, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and a brain tumor. Twelve-year-old Daimhin McGrath, who had surgery to remove a deadly brain tumor at age 9 lives three blocks from the new hospital site, while Jacob Lowry, 10-year-old leukemia survivor, came 100 miles to participate in the celebration.

"I've been coming to the hospital my entire life, and my family and I consider it our second home," said Children's Memorial cystic fibrosis patient and hospital Kids Advisory Board member Katie Kelly.

SOURCE Children's Memorial Hospital
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