1940

1940: Texas Children’s Hospital - Comprehensive Care for Older Children

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Even after the opening of Bradford Hospital and the Freeman Clinic, there was still no facility for older children in need of hospitalization. Though fundraising for such a hospital had begun in 1924, the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression greatly hampered the efforts. Through the perseverance of the community, Children’s Hospital of Texas finally opened in 1940. The new hospital was located adjacent to the Freeman Clinic on land deeded by the Freeman family.

By the mid-1940s, health care leaders, clinicians and community supporters recognized that children would be better served if providers consolidated some functions. In 1944, Bradford, Freeman and Texas Children’s (renamed Children’s Hospital of Texas) aligned their patient and financial reporting systems. In 1947, Children’s Medical Center was incorporated as the operating entity for the three facilities, and a year later, an administrator was hired.

While the building was under way for a place just for children, new medical procedures were also advancing. In 1941, Dr. J. Warner Duckett performed the first corrective heart surgery on an infant at Children’s. In 1945, Dr. Duckett learned about a heart procedure that relieved many of the symptoms of a condition known as “blue baby” sickness, which causes skin to look blue due to a lack of oxygenated blood. During the next decade, Children’s Hospital of Texas became famous for treating these infants.

Top: A half-century after Elizabeth Bradford first took children from the baby camp for a ride in her wagon, a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Texas allows kids to be kids.

Bottom: A baby in an iron lung at Bradford during a 1940s polio outbreak.

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