Kentucky Children’s Hospital

Kentucky Children’s Hospital is an integral part of UK HealthCare. The hospital provides unparalleled health care and pediatric services for thousands of children from central and eastern Kentucky.

When the University of Kentucky College of Medicine began educating physicians in 1961, the Department of Pediatrics was an important part of the college from the start. In September 1995 construction began for a $10.6 million facility known as the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The grand opening was Aug. 23, 1997.

In 2005 the hospital was renamed to Kentucky Children’s Hospital. KCH has more than 70 pediatric specialists and 300 pediatric nurses working in 24 areas of health care for children. There are 66 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds, 58 Level III beds for severely ill newborn care, 42 Acute Care, non-ICU rooms, 26 normal newborn nursery beds, 12 Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) beds, 8 Level II beds for intermediate newborn care, 7 Progressive Care beds, 4 sleep rooms for parents of children in the ICU, 3 consult rooms, 3 children’s playrooms, a Ronald McDonald family room open 24 hours a day, and the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center.

Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center

Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center interior. Photo courtesy of Amber Schmidt. 

The Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center is the only 24-hour pediatric emergency and trauma care center in central and eastern Kentucky, and the only one in the state verified as a pediatric Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. It offers all the advantages of UK’s world-class emergency department, with a separate entrance and child-friendly waiting and treatment areas.

The Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center opened its doors at 5 a.m. Friday, July 14, 2010. Michael Karpf, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UK, was there at 4:30 in the morning to greet the first two young patients at 4:50 a.m. By mid-afternoon the entire area was filled.

Before the center opened, the nearest facility for children was in Cincinnati to the north, Knoxville to the south, Nashville in the west or Pittsburg in the east.

“That’s a lot of real estate to cover,” Dr. Karpf said. He came to Kentucky in the fall of 2003 after an eight-year stint at UCLA in California and 16 years in Pittsburgh prior to that. “This center is now responsible for a lot of kids,” he said. “It’s quite special.”

The Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center is one of the only dedicated children’s emergency centers. ”Dedicated” means that the waiting and treatment spaces for children are separate from the spaces used by adult patients, and they are designed just for kids. The caregivers in the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center are experts at working with children who need emergency care.

“A good medical professional is well-educated and trained and, equally important, has access to the best medical equipment in a setting that facilitates care,” Dr. Karpf said. “The supporters of the Makenna Foundation understand this. They have made gifts to purchase medical equipment and to improve our health care environment.”