Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is located in Saint Louis, MO not far from Saint Louis University. The hospital is a non-profit, 195-bed inpatient hospital and provides care to infants, children, and adolescents of any race, social-standing, or religious belief.
Glennon is ranked number three for specialty care facilities and provides exceptional care to children of all ages. It is closely related to Saint Louis University being that it is located on the south end of SLU’s campus and is staffed by SLUcare Physician Group as well as physicians from Saint Louis University's Medical School.
John J. Glennon, the Archbishop of Saint Louis from 1903 to 1946, had a mission to open a healthcare facility to help all children in need of medical care and assistance. Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital was named after him because it was by his influence that it was founded. Although Glennon, who later became Cardinal, had a big influence in the building of the hospital, there were many others that took part in the operation such as Dr. Peter G. Danis, Leo Wieck, Frank J. Guyol, and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. Each of these individuals and societies had a strong desire to make their dream a reality. After much hard work and dedication, as well as fundraising, the hospital opened on July 5, 1956 when they saw their first patient Mary Frances Wallace. The hospital ended up being built solely on donations from the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Cardinal Glennon is not just an ordinary hospital, but it is the first Catholic Children’s Hospital founded in Saint Louis.
One of the biggest things that stands out about Cardinal Glennon is their mission and values. The mission itself declares that “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God,” showing how Cardinal Glennon incorporates faith in their health care. This mission means that the faculty and staff at Cardinal Glennon will do their best to provide exceptional healthcare services while believing that God is by their side revealing his healing presence. The health care providers at Cardinal Glennon place a strong emphasis on developing relationships with their patients and being a support system for their patients to rely on. Besides being rooted in belief in God, Cardinal Glennon welcomes those of any race, nationality, religious background, or social standing. The hospital provides many pastoral care services in order to help those cope with emotional stress as well provide for one’s spiritual needs.
The hospital also has five core values associated with its ministry. The five core values include: compassion, respect, excellence, stewardship, and community. These five core values relate very closely to the aspect of faith seen throughout the hospital. The hospital aims to serve with compassion by caring for and understanding each patient while leading them on their path to recovery through God’s healing presence. The hospital also strives to show utmost respect to each patient regardless of their gender, age, race, social status, and beliefs. The value of excellence shines through the care provided and the staff who provides the care. The value of stewardship is shown by the way the hospital takes care of its organization and property. Finally, the value of community shows through as all the faculty of the hospital works together to provide the best care to anyone who needs it especially the less fortunate and underprivileged.
Interview with Tina by Abby Krebs
SLU undergraduate Abby Krebs recently phone interviewed a woman who had a personal experience with the care her son received at Cardinal Glennon. Below is the backstory and response she received. It is published here with permission and has been edited for clarity:
Before Tina's child was born, the physicians determined that he was going to have a heart condition. Although they could not determine exactly what the condition was, they knew there was going to be something wrong with the baby’s heart. After going to the local hospital, Tina was sent first to St. Mary’s and then to Cardinal Glennon. During labor, there were so many people in the delivery room from St. Mary’s and Cardinal Glennon who were ready to take the baby. When the baby was born it was very possible that he would need a surgery within a couple days. The new baby stayed in the NICU and it turned out that he would be stable and fine for a while. The mother, father, and baby attended regular doctor’s appointments at Cardinal Glennon. When the baby was around six months old the doctors did a heart tap and realized that his ventricles were growing on the wrong side. He was diagnosed with having hypoplastic right ventricle syndrome. This is a condition in which the right side structures of the heart are underdeveloped and malformed. At nine months old the innocent little baby had his first open heart surgery. This surgery was called the Glenn.
Tina stated, “He did very well with this surgery but it was so sad to see him hooked up to so many tubes and machines. Just heartbreaking. It looked like he had been hooked up to everything in the supply closet. However, throughout the first surgery, the medical team at Glennon was amazing.”
Right before his third birthday, her son had his second heart surgery, the Fontan procedure. He is now eleven years old and living a happy life. Although he knows his limits, he is living as an active little boy.
Tina describes the whole experience as surreal. She has nothing but good things to say about the whole experience their family went through at Glennon:
Tina's interview demonstrates how the staff at Glennon give utmost care to their patients. It also shows how the hospital incorporates faith into caring for their patients. Tina had nothing but good things to say her experience with Glennon. It is important for patients to have positive experiences in tough situations. Having such a supportive, caring staff and feeling comfortable can make a tragic situation a little better.
Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and SLU Hospital’s intertwined history has held them in close relationship with each other as both have developed and grown. Because of their proximity to each other, Cardinal Glennon serves as the base for SLU Med School’s Department of Pediatrics. The Sisters of Saint Mary were instrumental in founding both institutions and both are under SSM Health Care, so they share common missions of showing the presence of God to each patient through the health care they provide as well as welcoming all people no matter their status, background, or race. Cardinal Glennon, for whom the hospital was named after, as well as the Jesuits that founded SLU Hospital, shared a common vision of providing the highest quality health care while incorporating the mission of the Catholic Church to love and care for each person as Jesus would. The Jesuits especially focus on reaching out to the marginalized, those that the rest of the world turns away from, and recognizing their shared humanity to care for them just as they would any other person. Cardinal Glennon Hospital exemplifies this by living out their mission of compassion and respect for all people.
Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital has a great religious influence on the city of Saint Louis. This hospital would not have been founded without the Archbishop of Saint Louis, John J. Glennon. The hospital, through its mission statement and strong values, gives hope and promote healing with God in mind. Additionally, the care the staff strives to provide to their patients focuses on the importance of giving back to the community, which we hear in the interview with Tina Kohrman. The hospital reaches out to welcome all people from any religious, ethnic, or social background and provide care to each one equally. The staff at Cardinal Glennon hospital continues to show their utmost respect and care and try to incorporate ideals associated with the Catholic Church in every patient interaction and beyond.
Researched and written by Jack Gerbic, Abby Krebs, and Anthony Nwajei
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“Cardinal Glennon Inspiring Hope”. Higher Education Channel. http://www.hectv.org/watch/impact/cardinal-glennon-inspiring-hope/13955/http://www.hectv.org/watch/impact/cardinal-glennon-inspiring-hope/13955/
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Tina K., phone interview with Abby Krebs. November 2017.
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