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Riley Hospital for Children: Unparalleled Children’s Health in Indianapolis

As a national leader in children’s health care, Riley Hospital is operated by Clarian Health Partners. The hospital is consistently ranked among the nation’s best children’s health facilities. Riley Hospital is Indiana‘s only comprehensive children’s hospital, and is located in downtown Indianapolis.


Video tour of Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana

Riley Hospital was named in memory of James Whitcomb Riley, a famous Hoosier poet. Riley wrote children’s poems, including his classic “Little Orphan Annie,” which was published in 1885. He truly was Indiana’s poet, and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home still exists in his honor.

After his death in 1916, a small group of Indianapolis natives formed the Riley Memorial Association, which was later named the Riley Children’s Foundation. The group wanted to build a hospital to honor Riley’s love for children, and in 1924 the facility was opened. Soon thereafter, the foundation began Camp Riley, a summer camp for children with disabilities. The camp is still in operation today, and allows participants an opportunity to intereact with other kids like them in a social atmosphere, while encouraging them to reach beyond their physical and mental limitations.

The hospital is the perfect atmosphere for Indianapolis kids, filled with stuffed animals, toys and hand-painted murals. The family based system at Riley is designed with children’s needs in mind. The Parent Care Unit is a program that allows parents to sleep in the same room as their child, giving parents nearly unlimited visitation. The hospital also houses the largest autism research center in the United States. The largest pediatric sleep lab in the world is Riley’s Sleep Disorder Center.

Riley Hospital is able to make so many medical advances partially because of their relationship with Indiana University Hospital and Methodist Hospital, connecting a large network of medical professionals and forming Clarian Health Partners.

Riley Hospital is connected to these two hospitals through the Clarian People Mover. Indiana University is traditionally a major research hub, and this helps the hospital stay on the cutting edge of Indianapolis health care. The research not only benefits Indianapolis education, but the entire network of the children’s health field.

Riley Hospital for Children is a leader on many healthcare fronts. Here is a brief timeline of their accomplishments:

  • 1951- Riley was the first hospital to open a cardiac catheterization laboratory in Indiana, and went on to become the first to perform percutaneous cardiac catheterizations in children. This procedure was much less painful, less invasive and allowed for a quicker recovery time. Riley remains a national leader in children’s cardiovascular care today.
  • 1955- Camp Riley started at Bradford Woods, located about 25 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
  • 1966- Riley was the first to use echocardiography, which is a method of viewing the heart that is based on soundwaves. This form of monitoring the heart is much more accurate and efficient than x-ray technology.
  • 1971- Riley opened Indiana’s first neonadal intensive care unit. In ’71, Riley also launched its Parent Care Unit – a family centered approach to children’s healthcare.
  • 1975- The Fontan procedure was first staged in Indiana at Riley. This surgical method is used on children with severe heart defects.
  • 1983- Riley was the first in Indiana to perform a cochlear implant on a deaf child. Also in ’83, Riley became the first in the state to perform successful heart-lung bypass surgery for infants and children.
  • 1988- The first child liver transplant that was performed in Indiana was at Riley.
  • 1989-Riley performed the first infant/newborn heart transplants in the state.
  • 1991- The Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research opened at Riley, featuring the state’s only pediatric cancer center.
  • 1994- Doctors at Riley performed the state’s first pediatric cord blood transplant.
  • 1997- Riley Hospital for Children merged with Methodist Hospital and Indiana University Hospital to create the medical superteam Clarian Health Partners.
  • 2000- Riley’s Outpatient Center was launched, containing the largest ambulance service for children in Indiana.
  • 2001- The largest pediatric sleep lab in the world was opened, called the Riley Sleep Disorders Center.
  • 2002- The Riley Heart Center opened, a center exclusively for children with heart defects. Also in ’02, Riley launched the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center, which is the one of the largest autism research centers in the country.
  • 2003- Indiana’s first intestinal and multe-organ transplants were conducted at Riley. Also in ’03, Riley received special clearance for the use of the Berlin Heart, a device that can help treat complicated cardiac problems.

With years of experience and excellence, Riley Hospital for Children has what it takes to care for Indianapolis kids. From cuts and bruises to cancer, Riley has the resources needed for your child’s health.

Riley Hospital for Children
702 Barnhill Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46202
317.274.4071
Click here to visit Riley Hospital for Children online!

For a detailed overview of the great city of Indianapolis, click here!

Mike Woods