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SickKids VS Limits

November 2017

Welcome to the new SickKids eNewsletter. Distributed quarterly, this publication will focus on a topic and highlight where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going: the THEN, the NOW and the NEXT. Please enjoy our most recent publication, and if you like what you see, subscribe now!

Message from Dr. Michael Apkon | Then -  Opening day at SickKids in 1951 | Now - Transforming our campus | Next -  SickKids VS: All In


Title banner reading: SickKids VS Limits
Mike Apkon


When SickKids opened its new doors in 1951, a community of over 85,000 people came together to raise $9 million to build the world’s largest children’s hospital. Now we’re doing it again.

Child health shouldn’t be limited by outdated buildings in critical need of transformation. While SickKids is made up of a team of world leading experts in child health, our current space isn’t optimal for providing world-class health care. Essential patient-care areas used to treat Canada’s most vulnerable populations are over-crowded and under-funded, resulting in longer lengths of stays, increased chances of infection and a lack of privacy.

As we make advancements in computing power, genetics, and personalized medicine, the next few decades will be a time of transformational change in the field of paediatrics. The biggest battle we face now is against our own limits. We need to build a new SickKids and it’s going to take all of us.

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THEN banner reading: Opening day at SickKids in 1951

By 1951 the population of Toronto had surpassed 1.2 million people. It was time for a new SickKids. Post-depression, and post-war, the people of Toronto understood that child health shouldn’t be limited by an outdated building.

The new hospital – which included 15 operating rooms, 12 X-ray rooms, and room for 635 patients – opened its doors to over 85,000 visitors for a week long open house. Toronto was passionate about the hospital that they’d built and lined up around the block to take a look at the world’s largest children’s hospital.

The community rallied to build a new SickKids, surpassing the initial fundraising goal and enabling us to practice cutting-edge 20th century medicine. It took all of us, and it is time to bring the community together once again.

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NOW banner reading: Transforming our campus

While SickKids is the only place in the province for newborns needing life-saving surgeries, our space is not optimal for patient care.

Trends show that babies are increasingly being born prematurely and at lower birth weights, making them more susceptible to infections. Yet, our current NICU is a ward style room designed in the 1980’s which does not have the capacity to properly accommodate new equipment and provide the current standards of care for these infants.

Critical one-on-one contact between parent and child is made difficult by cramped, uncomfortable spaces. With up to six patients in each room, privacy is hard to come by. Infection control is a constant concern with equipment and machines cluttering the space.

The old ORs at SickKids have allowed us to do amazing work but there are simple things like lighting and moving to modular equipment that will allow the space to better fit the needs of our patients. Our new ORs are bright and equipped with the latest technology. Screens around the room enhance communication and safety.

A modern NICU and updated ORs will provide state-of-the-art spaces that allow for the best in patient safety and infection control, with space for families to stay at the bedside of our smallest, most vulnerable patients.

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Twenty-first century medicine shouldn't be held back by a building built in 1949. For the SickKids VS Limits campaign, 200 patients and family members came together to rally the public to build a new SickKids. We are about to embark on the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian health-care ever undertaken. Help us make history.

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