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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 29Apr00

Summarized by Jennifer Livingston

Prospective Missionary Was First Patient At New Primary Children's Hospital
Deseret News 27Apr00 P2
By Amy Joi Bryson: Deseret News staff writer

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Primary Children's Medical Center celebrated its 10-year anniversary at its current location in style Wednesday with an elaborate ice cream party. The Primary organization of the LDS Church established the first children's hospital in 1911, which operated out of just two rooms. The hospital moved to North Temple in 1922, and then on to 12th Avenue in 1952. The current facility was completed in 1990. Primary Children's Medical Center was owned by the LDS Church until the early 1970's, when it was spun off into Intermountain Health Care.

One of the party attendees was Primary Children's very first patient, Mark Christensen. Mark brought along the stuffed panda he was given upon his transfer to the new facility in 1990. He and his three siblings all have a rare form of muscular dystrophy, which has necessitated hospital treatments many times over his 18 years.

"I know from experience kids here receive the finest care in the world," said Christensen.

Christensen's medical procedures have included heart and spinal surgeries, among countless other treatments to deal with the effects of his muscular dystrophy. He will graduate from high school in May, and has been accepted to Brigham Young University. Christensen hopes to begin serving an LDS mission later this year.

Mark's father, Bill Christensen, acknowledged the critical role of Primary Children's Medical Center in the lives of his children.

"I am sure they would not have survived if it hadn't been for them," he said.

The hospital's motto, prominently placed for all to view, reads: "The child, first and always."


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