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Texas Children’s Hospital history
1940s to today



  • Texas Medical Center chartered.

  • Texas Children's Foundation forms to secure support to build a children's hospital. Six acres are set aside for the new hospital.


  • Groundbreaking ceremonies are held May 23, 1951.

  • Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital establish a teaching affiliation.

  • The three-story, 106-bed pediatric hospital is dedicated on May 15, 1953.

  • Dr. Russell Blattner, Texas Children's physician-in-chief from 1954 to 1977, establishes an unprecedented policy that at least one parent may be with a child during a hospital stay.

  • First patient, 3-year-old Leigh Van Wagner, is admitted Feb. 1, 1954.

  • Texas' first and, at the time, only female pediatric surgeon, Dr. Benjy F. Brooks, joins Texas Children's.


  • Hospital services and specialties expand rapidly, with specialists added in cardiovascular disease, pediatric research, birth defects, learning disabilities, mental retardation, developmental problems, social services and leukemia and other blood disorders.

  • Karen and Kimberly Webber are born joined at the chest in 1964. Texas Children's pioneering procedure to separate them establishes the hospital as a leader in pediatric care.

  • Three red wagons are donated for patient transport, establishing a long tradition of kid-friendly transport around the hospital.

  • Texas Children’s Hospital helps establish the Texas Heart Institute to promote knowledge and treatment of adult and pediatric cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Denton Cooley becomes its surgeon-in-chief and cardiovascular consultant to Texas Children's Hospital.

  • Texas Children’s becomes the first hospital to treat pediatric respiratory failure with home mechanical ventilation, allowing home treatment instead of prolonged years of hospital care.

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  • The hospital expands to 331 beds, more than double its original 106.

  • The first play therapy room opens.

  • Neonatology service is created.

  • The maximum age for patients is raised from 15 to 19.

  • David, the Bubble Boy, born in 1971 with an immune deficiency, is placed in a specially designed bubble where he plays, sleeps, eats and attends school. Study of his condition leads to significant contributions in the study of immune system disorders.

  • Dr. Ralph Feigin succeeds Dr. Russell Blattner as physician-in-chief in 1977.


  • Outpatient visits more than quadruple during the 1980s.

  • Charity care increases from $3.5 million to more than $9 million.

  • Research funding grows from less than $5 million to nearly $15 million.

  • Shannon Pillow is first patient in the world to receive biosynthetic growth hormone.

  • Texas Children’s Hospital is recognized as a leader in treating pediatric HIV.

  • Texas Children’s Emergency Center is the first in the state to have 24-hour coverage by board-certified pediatric emergency physicians.

  • Texas Children's Hospital launches Houston’s first pediatric program for liver transplants.

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  • Texas Children's Hospital completes renovation of the Abercrombie Building (the original hospital) and construction of the Clinical Care Center and West Tower to become the largest freestanding pediatric hospital in the U.S. It has 456 operating beds and nearly 50 medical and surgical outpatient services.

  • The world's smallest pacemaker is inserted into a transplant child.

  • Texas Children's Hospital performs pioneering operations on conjoined twins and a
    3-year-old liver transplant recipient.

  • Significant advances are made in cell and gene therapy transplants.

  • Texas Children's Hospital opens the largest bone marrow transplant unit in Texas.

  • The nation's first pediatric health maintenance organization (HMO) is established by Texas Children's.

  • The Chukwu octuplets, ranging in weight from 11.3 to 28.6 ounces, are admitted to Texas Children's neonatal intensive care unit. All of the seven surviving octuplets go home within six months of their birth.

2000 to today

  • U.S.News & World Report ranks Texas Children’s Hospital among the nation’s top pediatric hospitals from 2000-2009.

  • Parents magazine ranks Texas Children's Hospital fourth among the nation’s top pediatric hospitals in 2007.

  • Dr. Russell Blattner, founding physician-in-chief of Texas Children's Hospital, dies in 2002.

  • Texas Children's begins an extraordinary $1.5 billion expansion entitled Vision2010. It involves the expansion of the Feigin Center by seven stories, the construction of a maternity center, the construction of a full-service hospital in West Houston, and the construction of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute.

  • Dr. Ralph Feigin, physician-in-chief, passes away in 2008.

  • The Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children's Hospital (BIPAI) opens a new 21,000 square foot clinical care center in Kampala, Uganda, in 2008. On its opening day, it receives 6,000 transfer patients, making it the world’s largest pediatric HIV/AIDS center.

  • Texas Children's Hospital becomes the first freestanding pediatric hospital to implant two HeartMate II ventricular assist devices in adolescent patients. These devices allow patients to improve their heart health while waiting for a donor heart.

  • Dr. Mark W. Kline appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and physician-in-chief of Texas Children’s Hospital effective July 1, 2009.

  • Mark Wallace, president and CEO, celebrates 20 years at the helm of Texas Children's Hospital in 2009.

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