When The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855, most childhood illnesses were treated at home because infants and children admitted to adult hospitals often died due to cross-infection or neglect.
After visiting the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, Francis West Lewis, MD, decided to create a hospital in the United States dedicated to finding cures and treating illnesses and injuries specific to children. He persuaded two friends, T. Hewson Bache, MD, and R.A.F. Penrose, MD, to join him in the venture. In the Hospital's first year, it had 12 beds and a dispensary, and the physicians served 67 inpatients and 306 clinic patients.
The Hospital has moved three times since first opening its doors on what is now Watts Street in downtown Philadelphia. On June 23, 1974, the Hospital moved all its equipment and patients to its current location at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard in West Philadelphia.
Over the years, the Hospital added The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, one of the largest pediatric research facilities in the United States, and acquired Children's Seashore House, a comprehensive pediatric rehabilitation center. The Hospital also has built what now is the largest pediatric healthcare network in the United States, with nearly 50 sites that treat children throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
From 1855 on, Children's Hospital has remained true to our founders' vision, nurturing some of the nation's pioneers and innovators in pediatric medicine and contributing a number of firsts to the field.
Today, the Hospital has 535 beds and had more than 1 million outpatient and inpatient visits last year.
Read our mission statement.