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In the late 1880s, Sara and Julie McNutt, sisters and physicians, dreamed of creating a babies hospital in New York. At the time, there were only 25 beds available for infants in adult hospitals in the entire city. At a time when infectious disease was rampant, babies and children were "treated at home and died at home," says Dr. John Truman, professor of clinical pediatrics at P&S, and unofficial historian at the Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.

The McNutt sisters enlisted the help of three other women serving on the board of the New York Infirmary and the group soon established the Babies Hospital in a brownstone on 55th Street and Lexington Avenue. That building was replaced in 1902 by an eight-story, 80-bed modern hospital that treated children up to age 3.

The hospital leaders believed in milk sterilization and good nutrition and sanitary practices. "In considering the details of the work, general hygienic management and selection of food precede in importance the use of drugs," wrote Dr. Sara McNutt.

The Babies Hospital remained on Lexington Avenue until 1929, when staff and patients moved uptown to become part of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. In 1994, the Babies Hospital changed its name to the Babies & Children's Hospital, in recognition of the fact that children, in addition to babies and toddlers, were being cared for. Today, the patient age limit is twenty.

Next month, the hospital once again will undergo a new phase in its evolution, when the new Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian building opens.

—ANNA SOBKOWSK

Coming up: The Morgan Stanley Children's
Hospital building of NewYork-Presbyterian
opens in November...


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