Hospital also sees its first surgery performed
Attention editors and news directors: A multimedia press kit, including photos, videos, and articles about the various units and services offered at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital can be accessed here.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Today (Sept. 29) was a day of firsts for the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital with the first patients moved into the facility and first surgery performed all in the same day.
“Opening the doors to our new Children's Hospital is a day our team will never forget,” Amy L. Bush, B.S.N., M.B.A., R.N., C.N.O.R., chief administrative officer for WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “A very special thank you to our patients, families, community, and the entire healthcare team. We look forward to furthering our mission of building healthier futures for our children and delivering the best possible outcomes for the children who need our care.”
Before the sun rose, five-week-old Adilynn “Addi Jo” Goodnight of Birch River in Nicholas County was wheeled from the sixth floor of WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on the sixth floor of the new Children’s Hospital, making her the first patient admitted to the new facility.
Little Addi Jo has been a patient of WVU Medicine Children’s since she was born on Aug. 17. She was diagnosed with a coarctation of the aorta at birth and underwent heart surgery at one-week-old.
Jessica King, Addi Jo’s mother, said she was very excited that the baby was chosen to be the first patient in the new Hospital.
“It is really sweet that they picked her out of everyone because she has been through so much,” King said. “She will have this experience to look back on when she gets older.”
Addi Jo was followed into the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital by Kenadie Barclay, 12, of Jane Lew in Lewis County, who was the first patient admitted to the Pediatric Acute Care Unit on the ninth floor. At 11 a.m. this morning, newborns Maverick Davis of Morgantown and Salvatore Coneway of Allison, Pennsylvania, were the first patients admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the seventh floor.
While patients and staff made the trek from Ruby Memorial Hospital to WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, surgical staff were at work on the third floor performing the first surgery in the new facility.
“As soon as we met him, we knew he was the one,” Jake Kelly, Dallas’ dad, said of Dr. Al-Omar. Mom Emily Kelly added, “We didn’t get a second opinion because we trusted him. To find doctors who are also personable is a rare thing.”
Emily said she understands how stressful it can be to have a child who needs surgery, but she wants other parents to know that she has found the staff at Children’s to be knowledgeable, comforting, and accommodating.
“We have been impressed with the knowledge and proficiency of the team, but also on the way they make us feel seen as parents,” she said. “There is no better place.”
Al-Omar said the surgery went well without any issues or complications.
“I am very excited that we now have a dedicated WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital so we can help and serve our patients in the best way,” he said, adding that the success of the procedure was the result of a team effort. “It’s about the entire team that worked with us on this first case and all the people who made this dream of a new Hospital come true.”
“This is a monumental day. This is the opening of the Children’s Hospital that’s been planned for a very long time,” Dr. Lubicky said. “The orthopaedic surgery operating room is so much better than what we had in the other building. It’s bigger, brighter, and has a lot more gizmos in the room. It’s pretty nice.”
Lubicky, who performed the state’s first robotic pediatric spinal surgery in 2018 and has introduced other new orthopaedic technologies and treatments to WVU Medicine Children’s, said the opening of the Hospital will allow for even more innovation.
“We’ve recently introduced some things that we weren’t offering before,” he said, “and we will be doing more.”
Looking forward while also looking back
Mary Fanning, D.N.P., R.N., F.R.E., N.E.A.-B.C., vice president of nursing clinical services and associate chief nursing officer at WVU Medicine Children’s, was an intensive care unit nurse when Children’s opened as a hospital-within-a-hospital inside Ruby Memorial in 1988.
“When I moved here from southern West Virginia to go to nursing school, this area was pretty much just a field. As a matter of fact, I think there was a golf course on this property. To see all the buildings and all the infrastructure being built up through the years for our patients and citizens of West Virginia is just truly amazing,” Fanning said. “The new Hospital is a dream come true for many, many people. I couldn’t be more proud, and I’m determined not to cry today.”
Charles Mullett, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics, is the son of Martha Mullett, M.D., the state’s first neonatologist, and the stepson of the late William Neal, M.D., who was chair of the Department of Pediatrics when Ruby opened. Both were among the first physicians to practice inside the former Children’s Hospital.
“Opening the new Children’s Hospital has just been a part of the mission that I feel to the inner core of my body. It’s moving things forward for the kids of our state. I took the baton from my mom, my stepfather Bill Neal, and Dr. (Robert) Gustafson (former chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery) and just carried it forward another lap. Of course, this is an exciting, big lap with the opening of the new building, such a big leap forward for the kids of our state,” Dr. Charles Mullett said.
When asked if there was anything else he wanted to add about move-in day or the new hospital, Mullett said, “Hey, mom, we did it.”
For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, visit WVUKids.com.