LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2016) – Children with heart conditions who seek care at Kosair Children’s Hospital will receive a boost thanks to a $2 million gift from the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation that will establish the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. In addition, the foundation is challenging the community to raise an additional $2 million.
“My family and I have met so many wonderful children on our visits to the hospital. Their strength and courage is inspiring,” Lawrence said. “I challenge everyone to give whatever they can to raise an additional $2 million to help.”
“We are thankful for the generosity shown by the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation with this gift,” said Thomas D. Kmetz, division president, Women’s and Children’s Services and Kosair Children’s Hospital. “We are equally thankful that she has put her trust in the outstanding work taking place at Kosair Children’s Hospital every day by challenging the community to join her in support of our heart care program.”
More than 5,000 children a year visit the Kosair Children’s Hospital Heart Center for specialized heart care. The center performs more than 17,500 procedures annually that include open heart surgeries, catheterizations, electrophysiology and noninvasive tests such as echocardiograms.
The number of children needing specialized heart care continues to increase, requiring the heart center to expand with an investment to establish a new cardiac intensive care unit at Kosair Children’s Hospital. The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and a renovation of the existing “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center are anticipated to cost nearly $25 million. Norton Healthcare, which owns Kosair Children’s Hospital, is committed to supporting the children’s hospital and the Children’s Hospital Foundation in making this renovation and construction project a reality. The Children’s Hospital Foundation has raised nearly $5 million to date, and this additional $2 million gift plus what is raised through the challenge will go a long way in bringing this project to fruition.
“Offering the kind of programs, services, technology and equipment found at the heart center demands support from the entire community,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, chief development officer for Norton Healthcare and executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This gift and challenge goes a long way in rallying our community to advance the world-class care available here for those throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.”
The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) will feature private rooms dedicated to children recovering from heart procedures, open heart surgery including heart transplant, heart failure and other conditions requiring intensive care. The new 14-bed unit will offer space for families to stay with their children. It will be staffed by additional specialists with cardiac critical care training and experience, dedicated nursing staff and other professionals focused solely on heart care. Research has shown that a unit such as this can improve a child’s recovery.
Kosair Children’s Hospital has a long history of providing specialized care for children since its predecessor hospital, Children’s Free Hospital, was constructed in 1892. Kentucky’s first pediatric open heart surgery was at Kosair Children’s Hospital, and specialists at the hospital completed the second successful infant heart transplant in the country in 1986.
The hospital offers a full range of services for congenital heart defects as well as acquired heart disease, including everything from fetal cardiology to pediatric cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology and open heart surgery including transplant. The hospital has recently added an advanced heart failure program that includes mechanical heart pumps (ventricular assist devices) and an adult congenital heart disease program. The construction of the new CICU continues the history of pediatric heart care in Louisville and complements the recent expansion of services available from specialists at the heart center.
Kosair Children’s Hospital also announced that Frank A. Pigula, M.D., has joined the hospital as chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery. Dr. Pigula was most recently at Boston Children’s Hospital, which has long been considered one of the top-rated pediatric cardiovascular surgery hospitals in the country. He also served as associate professor of surgery at Harvard University School of Medicine. He and Christopher Johnsrude, M.D., chief of cardiology, Kosair Children’s Hospital and University of Louisville Physicians, also serve as co-directors of the Kosair Children’s Hospital Heart Center.
Dr. Pigula also is chief of the University of Louisville Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and is affiliated with U of L Physicians. He joins Erle H. Austin III, M.D., who has been chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the hospital for 26 years, and Deborah J. Kozik, D.O., pediatric cardiovascular surgeon.
Kosair Children’s Hospital, working with specialists from U of L Physicians, is home to the only pediatric heart failure and transplant program serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The program is made up of a specialized team that includes a heart failure cardiologist, electrophysiologist, interventional cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeon, transplant surgeon, cardiovascular anesthesiologist, intensive care physicians, specially trained pharmacist, social worker, child life specialist, specially trained nurses, a family support team and a rehabilitation specialist.
To make a gift to the challenge, visit HeartCenterChallenge.com.
About Kosair Children’s Hospital
As Kentucky and Southern Indiana’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital, Kosair Children’s Hospital, along with its predecessor hospitals, have cared for children for more than a century without regard to their families’ ability to pay. The hospital also is an advocate for the health and well-being of all children. The 267-bed hospital is the region’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and serves as the primary pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Specialists offer comprehensive pediatric care including a full range of services for congenital and acquired heart disease, cancer care, neurosciences, spine and orthopaedic care, and neonatal care. In 2007 and 2012, Kosair Children’s Hospital received the prestigious Magnet designation recognizing excellence in nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. More information is available at KosairChildrensHospital.com.