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Hospital project gathers stories from a century


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POSTED: Monday, June 08, 2009

Eighteen-year-old golfing phenomenon Tadd Fujikawa recalls that he weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces when he was born 14 weeks early at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

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“;I spent 3.5 months in the newborn intensive care unit,”; the pro golfer wrote for the Kapiolani Story Project. “;I had five surgeries in the first month. I was on oxygen nearly the whole time. My odds of survival were 50-50.”;

Fujikawa was among those who kicked off the Kapiolani Story Project to compile a historical archive in recognition of 100 years of caring for children. All those touched by the hospital or its predecessor, Kauikeolani Children's Hospital, are invited to share their experiences, memories and thoughts at storyproject.kapiolanigift.org.

Fujiikawa recalled, “;The neonatologists and surgeons did everything to save me. My mom said I had really good nurses who took care of me. They gave me a lot of love. That's what made the difference.”;

Also making the difference was a clinical trial at the research hospital with surfactant, a treatment available nowhere else in Hawaii at the time to help the lungs function and prevent collapse.

Many others were less fortunate.

In 1907, the hospital notes in a brief history, two out of every seven isle children died before they reached their first birthday.

Sanford B. Dole, then governor, and Dr. James R. Judd sought help from the community to develop a hospital dedicated to pediatric care. Kauikeolani Children's Hospital opened in 1909 and merged in 1978 with Kapiolani Maternity Home to become Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Today it is the state's only pediatric specialty hospital and high-risk maternity center, with 207 beds and 90 bassinets.

Each year at the hospital:

» Nearly 6,500 babies are born—about half of all babies born on Oahu.

» More than 200 of the state's young cancer patients are treated at the hospital, eliminating need for families to travel to the mainland.

» More than 900 low-birth weight or premature babies are cared for in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

» Lifesaving air transportation is provided for more than 500 seriously ill newborns and children.

A centennial celebration will be held Aug. 30 at the Honolulu Zoo.