In August 2017, American Family Children’s Hospital – a place that has played a key role in the lives of thousands of children – joined the 10-year-old birthday club.
Incredibly, a decade has passed since about 50 hospitalized kids were transported from the old University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital (located inside University Hospital) to a modern, state-of-the-art facility made possible through much persistence and an unbelievably generous amount of community support.
Quality pediatric care has always been a hallmark of UW Health, but it wasn’t very long ago that its children’s hospital left something to be desired in terms of space and amenities. Prior to the 2007 opening of American Family Children’s Hospital, UW’s 61 pediatric inpatient rooms were private but cramped – about the size of a nice walk-in closet. Parents typically slept in reclining chairs or cots, while “special touch” amenities to help make life in the hospital a little easier were sparse.
After some collaborative discussions, Madison-based American Family Insurance in 2003 provided the catalyst to turn what seemed like a distant hope into reality by announcing a $10 million naming gift to build a world-class children’s hospital that would be separate from – but connected to – University Hospital in Madison.