Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital—Our History
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital was founded in 1952 and is the pediatric teaching facility of the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center. It hosts a medical staff of 558 with 42 pediatric sub-specialties and 225 beds.
More than 1 million children live in Le Bonheur’s 95 county referral area which includes Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Alabama.
Over 130,000 children are treated on an in-patient or outpatient basis annually.
Since its opening on June 15, 1952, Le Bonheur has been on the forefront of pediatric medical care in not only the Southeast, but also the United States. In 1959 the first open-heart surgery in the Mid-South was performed at Le Bonheur. In 1973, the first pediatric kidney dialysis unit in the Southeast was opened, one of only 5 in the nation. In 1983 the pediatric liver transplant program began, one of only 4 in the United States. In 1987 the Heart Center performed the region’s first pediatric heart transplant. In 1989 a 16,000 square foot Emergency Department opened, which was the largest emergency and trauma unit in the Mid-South and the only one designated for children. Finally, in 1994 the West Patient Tower opened completing the Master Facilities Plan and includes the Children’s Foundation Research Center of Memphis. This is a 30,000 square foot laboratory and research center leading to significant treatment and prevention of childhood diseases such as diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis.
Integrally associated with Le Bonheur is St. Jude Children's Research hospital. Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, this unique institution is a world renowned institution in the clinical care and research of children's cancer. The inpatient unit has 64 beds for acute medical and surgical care. There are 2 state-of-the-art operating rooms, a 3 bed recovery area, and an 8 bed Intensive Care Unit on the 3rd floor of the patient care center. Over 1200 cases are performed in the operating room complex each year. A dedicated pediatric surgical nursing staff and 4 pediatric anesthesiologists staff the operating room complex.