By JAMES E. CASTO
For The State Journal
Kristi Arrowood knows firsthand the critical importance of quality pediatric medical care.
Her son Zack, born with a collapsed lung, was successfully treated in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Later, her 5-year-old son Tanner underwent brain surgery at Cabell Huntington.
Today, Arrowood is director of development at the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation and, in that role, is managing the ongoing multi-million-dollar fundraising effort for the new Hoops Family Children's Hospital now taking shape on the fifth floor at Cabell.
The fundraising effort was launched in 2008 with a goal of $12 million. It's not only reached that goal but surpassed it. The total contributed or pledged is now nearing $13 million. The foundation has organized the Medallion Society to recognize those individuals who donate or pledge $10,000 or more to the hospital project. The society currently has 220 members and continues to add new names to its membership.
"We're thrilled by the way the community has rallied to this cause," Arrowood said. The decision was made to continue the fundraising effort because there are "more things we want to do," she said.
The largest single contribution to the project, $3 million, has come from coal executive Jeff Hoops, whose family is honored in the project's name.
The new children's hospital has been described as "a hospital within a hospital."
Cabell Huntington created 200 new beds when it opened up its North Patient Tower. That freed up existing space that is now being reconstructed for the children's hospital. Hospital officials have noted that using existing space for the new children's hospital not only avoids the cost of constructing a new building but also means the new hospital can use existing laboratories and services that otherwise would have to be duplicated elsewhere.
When completed, the new 71-bed hospital will include a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit and general pediatric units. A separate entrance, lobby and elevator will mean the young patients and their families will not have to utilize Cabell Huntington's main entrance.
The renovation is being done in phases, with the first set of new rooms expected to be ready by late spring. The new rooms, each designed for one patient, are significantly larger than previous pediatric rooms, Arrowood said.
"We've designed them so there's ample room for the medical staff and equipment as well as for the young patient's family," she explained.
Each room will have a private bath.
The new children's hospital also will have state-of-the-art facilities for the treatment of pediatric outpatients. "We treat 3,000 children a month as outpatients," Arrowood said.
Cabell Huntington President and CEO Brent A. Marsteller described the new children's hospital as the logical outgrowth of the hospital's long-term commitment to caring for young patients.
"Our Pediatric Unit was in place when the hospital opened its doors in 1956, and it has been growing ever since," Marsteller said. "Now it's time to move forward by creating a children's hospital where essential services can be combined with specialized treatment, creating comprehensive care for our children right here in the Tri-State."