Children's Mercy begins with two compassionate
The founding of Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics is traced
to 1897 and two sisters, Dr. Alice Berry Graham, a dentist, and Dr.
Katharine Berry Richardson, a physician.
As the story goes, a saloonkeeper in the Kansas City Stockyards
had heard of the sisters' reputation for helping poor, sick
children and he told Dr. Graham of a woman he had seen in the
streets trying to give away her crippled 5-year-old daughter.
Drs. Graham and Richardson found the girl abandoned,
undernourished and poorly clothed. They arranged a bed for her at a
small hospital on 15th and Cleveland in downtown Kansas City on
June 24, 1897. The doctors established the Free Bed Fund
Association and through painstaking care, they restored life to the
orphaned child's crippled legs. With surgery and therapy, she
Their act of compassion and medical expertise was the beginning
of what has become one of the leading children's hospitals in the
world: Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.
Today, Children's Mercy includes two hospitals: a
state-of-the-art, 335-bed hospital at 2401 Gillham Rd. in Kansas
City, Mo; and Children's Mercy South, a 54-bed hospital in suburban
Overland Park, Kan. In addition, there are bustling outpatient
clinics and urgent care centers throughout the metropolitan areas
and many other communities in Missouri and Kansas.
Significant dates in the history of Children's
1897: Free Bed Fund Association of Sick,
Crippled, Deformed and Ruptured Children opened its doors with one
bed on June 24.
1901: Central Governing Board of the Free Bed
Fund approves the Mercy name.
1904: Dr. Robert Schauffler is the first male
physician allowed to practice at the hospital. It is officially
called Mercy Hospital, opens with five beds at 414 Highland Avenue,
offering maternity and pediatric services. Grew to 27 beds by
1913: Co-founder Dr. Alice Berry Graham
1914: Hospital is deeded two acres of land at
Independence and Woodland avenues for new facility.
1916: Children's Mercy Hospital opens at
Independence and Woodland on Nov. 27. Fifty nine patients
moved from Highland location. $375,000 raised between 1915-1916 to
construct building. Serves as home for Children's Mercy until
1917: The Kansas City Board of Education began
supporting a teaching staff so patients requiring a prolonged stay
at the hospital could continue their education. A bedside or
classroom teacher has been provided during the school year ever
1933: Co-founder Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson
dies. Elizabeth Martin, RN, becomes supervisor of the hospital and
oversees its operations for the next 30 years.
1948: Hospital dismantles isolation wards.
1956: Dr. Wayne Hart begins work as hospital's
first medical director, the only full-time physician practicing at
Children's Mercy. His first assignment was to establish a residency
program with the University of Kansas.
1964: An elementary school at 351 South Park is
dedicated to the memory of co-founder Katharine Berry
1968: Groundbreaking for the hospital at its
current location, 2401 Gillham Road, on Hospital Hill.
1970: Hospital staff moves 39 children to the
hospital's Gillham location on Dec. 17.
1975: Adolescent Medicine Clinic opens to serve
the unique medical and psychosocial needs of pre-teen and teen-age
1985: The Pediatric Care Center moves to the
Diagnostic and Treatment Center adjacent to the hospital. It is the
first clinic to move off-site, signaling the need for more
1987: The first pediatric specialty clinics
open in Overland Park, Kan., to meet the needs of the growing
population in the southern part of the metropolitan area.
Additional clinics are added and an outpatient surgery center opens
in Johnson County. Ten years later, this operation evolves into
Children's Mercy South.
1992: Ground broken for the addition of an
outpatient center and a patient tower at the Hospital Hill
location. Centennial Campaign fund-raising effort begins: $68
million raised in two years.
1993: Based on the knowledge that many children
get well faster at home, Children's Mercy Home Care begins to
provide care for children in the comfort of their homes.
1995: Five-story Hall Family Outpatient Center
opens with 21 pediatric specialty clinics; has about 150,000
patient visits in first year.
1996: Seven-story Herman and Helen Sutherland
Outpatient Tower opens, allowing the hospital to enhance the
patient- and family-friendly environment of the hospital, providing
parent beds in rooms and a more comfortable atmosphere.
1996: Established Family Health Partners, a
non-profit Healthcare Maintenance Organization providing services
to the medically vulnerable and uninsured through the State of
Missouri's MC+ program.
1997: A year-long centennial celebration.
Children's Mercy named one of the top children's hospitals in the
country by Child magazine. Children's Mercy South opens in
1999: Children's Mercy purchases a primary care
pediatric practice in Wyandotte County and establishes the Parallel
Parkway Clinic to meet the needs of an under-served area of Kansas
City, Kan. Additional doctors and staff are added and the practice
continues to grow, eventually becoming Children's Mercy
West in 2007.
2000: Staff and patients move into the
Paul and Betty Henson Patient Tower, a complement to the Sutherland
Tower. Combined, the towers provide updated, private rooms to most
Children's Mercy patients and families, as well as other
2001: The public portion of a $50 million
fund-raising drive begins to support the Children's Mercy Research
Vision, a plan to improve the lives of children through discoveries
from world-class researchers working at Children's Mercy.
2003: Awarded Magnet designation for nursing
excellence, the first hospital in Missouri or Kansas and just the
third children's hospital nationwide to achieve this honor
from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
2003: In response to requests by community
pediatricians and residents, work begins at Children's Mercy
Northland, an urgent care center and specialty clinic in the north
part of the metropolitan area.
2003: Pediatric Research Center opens in 32,000
square feet on top two floors of the new Clinic and Research
Building on Hospital Hill.
2007: Children's Mercy West - The Cordell Meeks
Jr. Clinic, a primary care service, opens in Wyandotte
2007: Children's Mercy announces a
comprehensive, 15-year expansion plan to add inpatient beds,
outpatient clinic space, research labs and more, with a price tag
of around $800 million.
2008: Dr. Stephen Spielberg, an
internationally-known pediatrician and researcher, joins the
Children's Mercy staff as director of the hospital's new Center for
Personalized Medicine and Therapeutic Innovation.
2010: Ground is broken on the Elizabeth Ann
Hall Patient Tower, the third patient tower at the Hospital Hill
campus. It will add new intensive care beds, laboratory space and a
2011: Children's Mercy is ranked by US News and
World Report as one of the Best Children's Hospitals in the country
in all 10 categories ranked by the magazine and pediatric
sub-specialists across the country. Ground is broken for Children's
Mercy East in Independence, Mo., an outpatient and urgent care
center designed to provide more convenient and accessible care for
children and families in the eastern part of the metro area.
2011: The Center for Pediatric Genomic
Medicine, the first of its kind, opens with the goal of decoding
DNA of children with genetic diseases to help doctors determine
their cause and decide the best course of treatment. The Fetal
Health Center also opens, one of just a handful in the country
where babies are delivered inside a children's hospital with direct
access to medical and surgical expertise and moms and high-risk
babies can be kept together.
2012: The new College Boulevard Urgent Care
Center opens near Children's Mercy South to complement the new Tom
Watson Emergency Room at South. The Hall Patient Tower opens.
Children's Mercy repeats its ranking by US News and World Report as
one of the Best Children's Hospitals in the country in all 10
categories. Children's Mercy East opens.