The rooftop terrace serves as an outdoor recreational area for children with serious medical conditions, and its design allows them to go outside with all the equipment and access necessary to accommodate hospital beds, wheel chairs, IV poles and more.
The space consists of five “rooms,” themed after North Carolina’s natural areas, including the mountains, the forest, the meadow, and the beach; a sunroom was built to provide patients with the feel of a beach house, giving them a cozy environment they can enjoy on cold or rainy days.
“Being in the hospital shouldn’t be an all-negative experience,” said Amelia Drake, MD, FACS, Newton D. Fischer Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, and Executive Associate Dean of Academic Programs. “A lookout terrace like this, or a playroom, can lift a child’s spirit.”
Wesley Burks, MD, chair of the department of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of N.C. Children's Hospital, opened the event by thanking those involved with the construction of the terrace. Approximately $1 million in philanthropic support helped fund the project, including major gifts from the Eric Montross Father’s Day Basketball Camp and the Charles H. Goren Foundation.
Other speakers included Carson Rouse, a 10-year-old boy who was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a digestive disease in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not function normally therefore causing bile to become trapped and later damaging the liver. Rouse has been coming to the Children’s Hospital as a patient since he was four weeks old. He shared his excitement about the terrace, saying that the space will give him a chance to “meet new friends, play basketball…and relax.”
Rouse joined Drs. Burks and Stiles in cutting the ribbon to open the area, which was inspired by a young patient of Dr. Stiles, former chair of pediatrics and chief physician of the N.C. Children’s Hospital. The child was born in the hospital and was unable to go outside for five years—the entirety of his life—because of the medical equipment he needed with him at all times to keep him alive. Stiles said he has long wanted to make use of the space and create a special place where children with serious medical conditions could go outside to play.
“Families have asked for a space like this for years, and it will be especially set up for them,” said Stiles. “I’m really very pleased.”