my heartwarming tour of the new CHOC Children’s Hospital tower

The Bill Holmes Tower at CHOC Children’s Hospital is designed to be one of the most advanced and safest children’s hospitals in the world. When I toured the new tower recently, I not only saw firsthand how they’d completely covered everything– from advanced imaging machines that can grab scans in a flash (perfect for restless kids), to high-tech goggles for MRIs that show videos and help soothe children, to the region’s only dedicated pediatric emergency department. While all of those advancements and careful considerations make CHOC Children’s Hospital the best in So Cal, and beyond, it was the people on the front lines of care who really moved me.

We heard stories from the pediatric oncology team about granting patients’ final wishes inside of their Rainbow Rooms, about setting up proms for teenagers with critical illnesses and how much pride they take in creating a loving, supportive environment for the families who are there caring for their children. We saw high-tech operating rooms that George Lucas couldn’t have envision in his wildest dreams and heart imaging technology that’s ahead of its time… but the people who shared the information with us, who guided us along their everyday journey in saving lives and helping families cope with loss are what makes the biggest difference in the care at CHOC. I especially loved hearing stories about how their Child Life therapists help children deal with anxiety and emotions through play and art, and how those therapies are used to cut down on anesthesia use, among many other things.















Even the executive and administrative staff — while incredibly proud of how their careful plans, procedures and technologies will help reduce wait times, reduce human error, provide doctors and staff with better tools to evaluate, treat and cure — stood out to me. When they spoke about everything that makes this hospital great, it came from such a heartfelt place… as if they were bragging about their own child.

Don’t get me wrong. While I was already a fan of CHOC, my mind was absolutely blown at every detail, every tool, every machine and even the logic behind their ER protocol. I’m just forever touched by the wonderful people who create the team that makes it all happen.

Some of the key features of the incredible new tower (thanks to some very gracious people in the Orange County community, the entertainment industry and beyond) include:

  • The Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department – Orange County’s only dedicated pediatric emergency department with 31 treatment rooms
  • Robert L. Tidwell Procedure Center with seven operating rooms and five minor procedure suites
  • The CHOC Children’s Heart Institute with two cardiac catheterization labs
  • 28 private hematology/oncology acute care patient beds
  • Seacrest Studios, a radio station and multi-media center in partnership with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation
  • Family resource center with multimedia workstations for researching pediatric illnesses and conditions, along with a business center to help working parents juggle the demands of work and family
  • Pre-teen and teen rooms with amenities such as flat panel TVs, DVD players, game entertainment systems and PC stations. The rooms are connected by a kitchenette where patients and families can gather for cooking classes and other activities.
  • Patient outdoor play area – a private outdoor space designed to promote relaxation
  • Diagnostic imaging services & clinical laboratory services
  • Café
  • Public garden with seating to create a serene, relaxing environment
  • Meditation and prayer center to accommodate people of all faith traditions
  • Space to accommodate future needs



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