The Royal Children's Hospital is the leading paediatric critical care facility in Queensland, Australia, with 160 beds for sick and injured children, a wide spread of community based medical clinics, outreach programs caring for regional kids and telephone help lines for child health.
The Royal Children’s Hospital cares for children from all over Queensland, northern New South Wales, interstate and even overseas.
The hospital was founded in 1878 by Mrs Mary McConnel, wife of early Brisbane Valley pioneer David McConnel. In those days, children under five years of age were not allowed admission to an adult hospital and many of them died. Mary was so moved by the plight of the children that she rallied the support of 'ladies of position' and raised funds to establish The Hospital for Sick Children, which opened in March 1878 in rented premises in Leichhardt Street, Brisbane.
In that first year, 105 children were admitted to the tiny 15 bed hospital. Now, the hospital and its community health services treat over 30,000 children each year. To honour its achievements, Queen Elizabeth II granted a name change in 1967 to the Royal Children's Hospital.
For more than 120 years, the Royal Children's Hospital has remained at the leading edge of paediatric care, achieving several breakthroughs including:
- First injection of diphtheria antitoxin in 1895
- First X-ray of a child in 1896
- First paediatric liver transplant in 1985
- First ‘live donor’ liver transplant in 1989
- In 2001 a world first test was developed that reduced the diagnosis time for the deadly meningococcal disease from three days to less than one hour
- In 2002 we identified a new respiratory virus – human metapneumovirus (hMPV) – which affects the majority of children by the age of five
- In 2004 we discovered the human coronavirus NL63 – a respiratory virus that belongs to the same family as SARS – in children
- In 2007 we discovered a new childhood respiratory virus – the WU polyomavirus – that has links to cancer
- In 2009 we led the development of the H1N1 (swine flu) assay test now recognised as the most effective in the world
Through the ongoing kindness of the community, the Royal Children's Hospital has a reputation as one of Australia’s most highly regarded hospitals.