Art Morgan’s first visit to Children’s was in 1955. By the time he was six years old, he’d had three surgeries to repair his harelip through state-of-the-art plastic surgery procedures, which were rare at the time. While he was too young to remember the first two visits, his mother fills in the gaps as she recalls every detail as if it were yesterday.
Betty Morgan recalls being a young nervous mother bringing her eight week old son to Birmingham. In 1955 she had a choice to take her child to Birmingham, Atlanta or Tennessee and she chose Birmingham, Children’s Hospital, a choice she will never regret.
Betty referred to the old Children’s Hospital as the “Old Grey Mare, she was a good one, she‘s gone, but the new facility has helped so many children.” It was difficult to hand over her baby but they reassured her that he would be well taken care of and he was. Betty was at the hospital for eight days and was mostly by herself as her husband had to work in Montgomery. “I have wonderful memories of the love and care that those nurses gave to me and my son, and they knew hat I was scared to death and they would come in and check on me as if I was the patient,“ she said. Betty became friends with the nurses as they got off their shifts they played dominos and cards, a testament to the Children’s Hospital employees. She is amazed at how much the hospital has grown but knows that the nurses today give the same care as they did in 1955.
Betty would like for everyone to know “Children’s Hospital is an organization that her family has contributed for over 50 years, Children’s is close to my heart, thank God for Children's.”
Art recalls, “The nurses were super nice—so patient and caring,” he said. “They didn’t make you feel like you were in a regular hospital.” At night, they had to tie down his arms so he didn’t injure his face in his sleep, and they went out of their way to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
In taking care of some skin cancers over the past few years, Art has visited local plastic surgeons, one of whom commented on his lip. He told Art he could tell he’d had surgery, and that whoever did it had done excellent work. “That says a lot,” he said. “I’m so grateful that I had a place like that to go. Children’s was a neat place then, and now it’s just phenomenal.”