Volume 18 Number 2 Fall 2001

Oscar Salvatierra, MD, director of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital's kidney transplant program, visits transplant patient Angel Ortiz-Soto


New kid on the block

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital is one very accomplished 10-year-old

While Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital was still in the planning phase, chief visionary Lucile Salter Packard sought to build a child-centered environment where the best minds in medicine would join forces to eradicate childhood diseases.

The hospital is now celebrating the achievements of its first 10 years. At its relatively young age, the hospital has developed many top-notch clinical and research programs.

Observe just a few of Packard hospital’s accomplishments:
  • Packard’s kidney transplant survival rate is 98 percent, the highest in the nation, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national registry for organ donation. The hospital’s kidney and liver transplant centers rank in the nation’s top 5 percent in terms of numbers of patients treated.

  • The state-of-the-art MRI/CT imaging suite established at Packard is the first MRI imaging facility in northern California dedicated solely to children.

  • The hospital’s Children’s Heart Center is a world leader in the field of robotic, minimally invasive surgery.

  • The Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services, with 5,000 babies delivered each year, is one of the busiest delivery services in the Bay Area.
Founding champions Lucile Packard and Irving Schulman, MD, then chair of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, believed collaboration would be key to the success of the children’s hospital.

They wanted to bring together the medical forces of Stanford University, the School of Medicine and the adult hospital, along with the separately operated Children’s Hospital at Stanford to build a leading institution dedicated exclusively to advancing pediatric medicine and caring for children in the vicinity and beyond.

The wisdom of their premise is evident. Pediatrics professor Alan Krensky, MD, says the collaborative environment is highly beneficial to his research — an effort to teach the body to accept a transplanted organ without relying on immunosuppressive drugs.

“Stanford and Packard are quite remarkable because internationally renowned basic scientists and clinicians work together to improve children’s health and their quality of life,” Krensky says.

“I’ve felt like a kid playing in a sandbox. There is so much to do that I don’t want to go to sleep at night. It’s very exciting.”

This year, the hospital is mobilizing to further advance pediatric and obstetric medicine, says Christopher Dawes, CEO and president of Packard. Strategic plans for investments in the recruitment of the leading specialists, the development of programs and the expansion of state-of-the-art facilities are under way to place the children’s hospital among the nation’s top five.

Current initiatives include the development of collaborative clinical, research and academic programs. Known by the hospital’s staff as “Centers of Excellence,” these programs include the above-mentioned Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services and the Children’s Heart Center as well as the Brain and Behavior Center, the Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, the Children’s Transplant and Tissue Engineering Center and the Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Center.

Still, young patients may be more impressed by Packard’s atmosphere than by the hospital’s record of clinical success and its distinguished staff.

Topiary elephants and giraffes on the front lawn, an abundance of gardens, windows, skylights, whimsical paintings and sculptures, child-sized counters, a fountain and red wagons that tote kids from place to place are features intended to help start the healing process the moment children and their families arrive.

Though Lucile Packard didn’t live to see the hospital open, its leaders believe that if she were here today she’d be proud of this 10-year-old’s growth and development.


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