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In-hospital transport at Children's hospital in Minnesota (Photo: Flickr)

OPINION: Las Vegas Needs A Children’s Hospital

Nevada ranks 47th in the nation for pediatric care

By Victoria Seaman, March 22, 2023 8:02 am

When a baby is born, mothers anxiously await that first cry. That wasn’t an experience I had.

When my daughter Tatiana was born, she couldn’t cry or breathe independently for the first year. Born with a severe laryngeal condition, my little girl needed a trachea and round-the-clock medical attention, followed by 13 surgeries. I can’t describe the anxiety I felt as a parent as I put my child’s care in someone else’s hands, and I know I don’t need to explain to those who do. I prayed daily that I’d be able to make her ok.

Almost 30 years, and a happy, healthy daughter later, it’s a formative experience I’ll never forget. Unlike my own experience, Nevada parents have an extra burden to bear. Nevada lacks a children’s hospital leaving families to hope that the beautiful hospitals we do have, have enough beds in their pediatric wing to accommodate their urgent needs.

As a booming metropolitan city, Las Vegas is a hub of economic growth and cultural diversity. However, despite its many achievements, our state currently ranks 47th in the nation for pediatric care. This is unacceptable. We urgently need to invest in a full-service children’s hospital in Las Vegas.

The absence of a dedicated children’s hospital in our state means that families needing specialized care must travel out of state to access the necessary services. The closest hospital is in Salt Lake City, Utah. This can be financially and emotionally taxing for families, who may also face additional expenses such as transportation, lodging, and meals–all of which add up quickly.

Moreover, not having access to adequate healthcare can be a driving force behind families leaving Las Vegas. Those who have children with complex medical needs may choose to relocate to cities with established children’s hospitals to ensure their child receives the best possible care. This leads to a loss of talented medical professionals, which is detrimental to the economy and the overall well-being of our community. 

In addition, without proper healthcare infrastructure, the equity gap widens, as low-income families may not have the means to access their child’s care. Investing in a children’s hospital would improve children’s health outcomes and promote equity, thereby narrowing the gap between the haves and have-nots in our community.

Las Vegas is heading into a new chapter where we must foster economic growth and diversity. I believe a children’s hospital is not only the right thing for our families but lends itself to the economic diversification we so desperately need. 

It’s time for Las Vegas and Nevada to take bold steps toward investing in the health and well-being of our children by building a full-service children’s hospital. This would allow us to provide the best possible medical care to our most vulnerable population and attract top talent in the medical field to our state.

We need to prioritize the health of our community, reduce healthcare disparities, and foster economic growth. Let’s urge our state and city leaders to invest in a children’s hospital and ensure that Nevada becomes a leader in pediatric care.

I was a mother long before I was a public servant, and my only job is to advocate for the needs of our constituents. One of my top priorities is bringing a children’s hospital to Nevada. As a sitting City Councilwoman, it has been at the forefront of my office, and as your next Mayor of Las Vegas, it will continue to be a priority. I won’t stop fighting for our families, children, and your needs until I see this done.

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Victoria Seaman
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