The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion will open to patients and families in October. In celebration of this upcoming occasion, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster; deputy assistant secretary of the Federal Housing Administration’s Office of Healthcare Programs Roger Lukoff; Mother Emanuel AME Church senior pastor, the Rev. Eric Manning; and major benefactor Shawn Jenkins, founder and former CEO of BenefitFocus, joined MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS; MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley, M.D.; MUSC Board of Trustees Chairman Charles Schulze, MUSC Children’s Health and Women’s Health chief medical officer Mark Scheurer, M.D.; and patient and family representative Kelly Loyd in offering remarks to more than 900 elected officials, MUSC leaders, donors and community and business partners.
Event speakers emphasized that the new hospital is a reality because of the determination and commitment of the statewide community, from gubernatorial and legislative support and donors large and small to the unprecedented level of collaboration and integration of new ideas among care providers, construction and design teams, patients and their families. Scheurer opened the program with a reminder of the site’s prior history as the location of Charleston’s first African American hospital. He said that in the spirit of innovation, progress and reverence, it was important to carry that inclusive spirit forward in the fabric of the new building. “Today you will hear how we have connected to this purpose for our community,” he said. “Our hope is that you’ll understand just how many hearts, minds and souls came together to design, construct and build this new facility with the inclusivity of our patients, families and the community whom we serve always in the forefront of our collective mind.”
In 2014, MUSC launched a fundraising campaign to raise $50 million for the new hospital. The following year, Jenkins provided a $25 million commitment to the effort, inspiring the MUSC Board of Trustees to name the children’s hospital in his honor, recognizing his and his family’s significant commitment to children’s health. “The children who come here are at the most vulnerable point in their lives. They need someone to stand in the gap with them,” said Jenkins. “We look forward to working together with the community to bring the best health care possible to the children of South Carolina and our neighboring states.”
The campaign continues to draw broad-based support from across the state today, in the form of individual donations, corporate gifts, special events and even neighborhood lemonade stands. To date, the campaign has raised more than $146 million, more than any other single project in MUSC’s history. “The public’s support for this project has been amazing,” said Cole. “There’s no way to adequately thank them all. They are truly changing what’s possible in the lives of our young patients and their families.”
The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion will offer inpatient pediatric specialty services, labor and delivery care as well as an advanced maternal fetal medicine center. Located prominently within the medical district on the Charleston peninsula, the new hospital features an unprecedented level of patient and family-centered design and amenities combined with innovative technology that will enhance already excellent care and further elevate the entire patient experience. The new hospital will have 250 beds, an increase of nearly 20% over the current children’s hospital, with a labor and delivery unit consisting of spacious and private mother/baby rooms. The unit will also provide couplet care rooms where newborns and mothers can recover together in an intensive care setting. The new hospital will be among only a handful of facilities nationwide to offer this level of patient-and family-centered care and the only facility to do so in the Southeast.
Expectant mothers will take a special “stork” elevator directly to the maternity pavilion on the fourth floor when they arrive to give birth, bypassing other parts of the hospital to get to where they need to go. The facility will also include the largest and highest level neonatal intensive care unit in the state with more than 80 beds and single-patient rooms, an innovative departure from the open bay design in the current facility. Among its many health care services and amenities, the new hospital’s seventh floor includes a first-of-its kind indoor and outdoor play space and atrium, a full-service cafeteria and balcony water-front dining, laundry and shower facilities for families and an education and meeting room with soothing riverfront views. Finally, a rooftop helipad was engineered to accommodate the Coast Guard’s new 22,000-pound Jayhawk helicopter for emergency and disaster situations that affect the entire peninsula. For a detailed look at what will be in the new hospital, visit https://musckids.org/ways-to-help/giving/hospital/details orhttps://musckids.org/about-us/sjch.
“As a Vietnam Air Force veteran, I know the importance and necessity of team work when you have a complex, difficult and unprecedented mission ahead of you,” Schulze said. “Your unity is your biggest strength; I have seen firsthand, while bringing this hospital out of the ground, a level of unity throughout our state that is akin to what I saw while I was in the service. You learn that persistence, perseverance, collaboration and expertise are critical to the success of a mission, and it’s been no different here.”
Perhaps it’s these traits that have enabled the Children’s Health teams to deliver high quality care despite a current facility that was built at the end of the 1980s. With this new hospital, providers in South Carolina’s only pediatric burn center, solid-organ and bone marrow transplant programs and Level 1 pediatric trauma center, and so many other areas, will be able to do even more when the doors open this fall. One example is the smart room technology that’s being integrated into patient rooms, allowing for seamless communication between patient families and care team members. This technology, along with MUSC’s robust telehealth network, will allow for enhanced and continued collaboration with the state’s pediatricians and other children’s hospitals. This kind of innovation and coordination is critical to the success, health and happiness of all children in South Carolina.
“Today marks the end of a journey from the standpoint of constructing a physical building; however, it also signifies the beginning – the beginning of a new phase of transformational impact for children’s and women’s health care for South Carolina,” Cole said. “We have reached this day only through the tireless work of an entire community and state. It is only through the efforts and dedication of many that this hospital is now a reality. And we must redouble our efforts, generate a dedicated focus on innovation, push for excellence and commit to continuing the transformational work needed to create a new future for children’s health.”
More than 200 care team members, MUSC leaders, administrators and more contributed to the concept, design and building of this facility. This group included almost 30 family members who participated in the planning and design process, spearheaded by Loyd, all of whom had previous experience with the children’s hospital. Their involvement, along with the patient and youth advisory team, led MUSC to do things differently in some cases, challenged providers and designers to reach further for better solutions to common hospital issues in others, and empowered the collective team to innovate beyond the status quo.
“All of us who were part of these teams have different stories, but we are all motivated by a desire to give back to a place that cared for us and for our children and to pay it forward for other families who will receive care at MUSC,” said Loyd, now a member of the family faculty at MUSC Health. “Partnering with patients and family members in the delivery of care isn’t just a warm and fuzzy thing to do; it improves the quality and safety of a hospital and creates the opportunity for patients and families to be engaged in their health care journeys. This place was designed by patients and families, for patients and families.”
Speaking on behalf of the entire clinical enterprise, Cawley said that the team has been humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the statewide community and the team heard that community “loud and clear:” The citizens of South Carolina want the best care for their children and families now and in the future. “I want to leave you with one profound and heartwarming thought,” he said. “When this facility opens its doors to patients, it will be the most patient-and family-centered and technologically advanced children’s hospital in the nation. What a blessing for the children and mothers of this state and a beacon of hope and progress for our counterparts as we lead the way in raising all standards of excellence for patient care.”