WVU Children’s Hospital celebrates 25 years in current location - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WVU Children's Hospital celebrates 25 years in current location

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WVU Children's Hospital, which has been known as the sixth floor of Ruby Memorial Hospital, is celebrating 25 years in its current location.

Thousands of people have been treated in the hospital, which originated in the old University Hospital, which had beds for children in different units. At that time, babies were born on the fourth floor of the hospital, critically ill infants were admitted to the adult intensive care unit on the third floor, and general pediatrics occupied space on the sixth floor.

William Neal, M.C. is the pediatric cardiologist at WVU Children's Hospital, and he didn't have plans to return to West Virginia after he graduated from the WVU School of Medicine in 1966. However, after military service and residency and fellowship training, the Huntington native said he missed the mountains and the people, so he returned to the Mountain State in 1974. Neal became the chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics 11 years after his return, when the need for a new hospital became increasingly evident.

The original plans for what would become Ruby Memorial Hospital did not have all the pediatric units on one floor, but Neal lobbied for the hospital-within-a-hospital design, which was the style eventually built.

Ruby Memorial Hospital officially opened July 19, 1988, and in less than three hours, 201 patients were moved from University Hospital to Ruby. Among those patients were 11-da-old Jordan Oliver Fouch, the first WVU Children's Hospital patient.

Construction programs have expanded WVU Children's Hospital through the years, and current plans to build a 10-story tower onto Ruby to allow Children's to expand its NICU and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit are underway.