Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital celebrates a century of pediatric care

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is celebrating its 100th birthday, marking a century of pediatric care excellence and service to children throughout the Intermountain West by emphasizing their promise to keep the ‘Child First and Always’.

“Together, we’ll continue working to improve the health of children, strengthen our quality of care, address emerging health needs, and extend our expertise to those who need us most,” Katy Welkie, RN, MBA, chief executive officer of Primary Children’s Hospital and vice president of Intermountain Children’s Health said. “What an exciting future ahead for Primary Children’s and the future of the children and families we are fortunate to serve.”

A little more than 10 years after sponsoring the treatment of 72 children at the LDS Hospital in 1911, the Primary Association opened the first Primary Children’s Hospital at 40 W. North Temple, across from Salt Lake City’s Temple Square in 1922. The hospital mainly served children with orthopedic and chronic diseases, and who needed convalescent care following surgeries at LDS Hospital, which resulted in an average six-month stay.

“We believe we have a sacred responsibility to care for children,” said Camille N. Johnson, Primary General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Caring for the children includes providing for their physical needs, which this hospital and its dedicated professionals and volunteers have done so beautifully for the last 100 years. We look forward to another century of tender and thoughtful care provided by this wonderful center.”

Over the course of the next 100 years, Primary Children’s Hospital saw notable milestones such as transitioning to a 70-bed facility in 1952, the introduction of Life Flight in 1979, which transported 232 children across 20,000 miles in its first year alone, the first living, related-donor liver transplant in 1997, and more recently, the first pediatric ECMO transport performed in 2021.

Today, Primary Children’s provides more than 60 medical and surgical pediatric specialties with more than 800 physicians and 3,000 caregivers. It provided $14 million in charitable dollars to cover 11,867 patient visits in 2020 alone.

As for the next century, Primary Children’s began building a second hospital campus in 2020 in Lehi, Utah, on the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus to cater to the growing needs in the area. The hospital will feature five floors, 66 beds, and a three-story medical office building, with a combined 486,000 square feet. It is expected to open in 2024.

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