Former CHOP patient becomes nurse at new King of Prussia hospital

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "It's been my dream," said Abby Lackman. "With my history, I've been in and out of the hospital and the CHOP nurses really made an impeccable difference in my life."

In 1995, Lackman's life was in jeopardy before she was born. An ultrasound revealed an abnormal mass developing outside of her lungs. After her premature birth, her survival was in the hands of doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"The only way to save her life was to put her on the heart-lung machine," said Dr. Scott Adzick, Surgeon-in-Chief at CHOP. "But it was sort of a desperate solution for a desperate situation."

Dr. Adzick remembers it clearly, despite it being nearly 27 years ago. A treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is what made the difference.

Lackman spent two and a half months in the hospital. And then, she spent more than two decades dreaming of working in the intensive care unit.

That dream came true six months ago when she was hired by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. And starting next week, she will become part of the team at the brand-new Middleman Family Pavilion at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, located in King of Prussia.

A project roughly four years in the making, the 250,000 square-foot campus will provide 52 inpatient rooms. 16 of those will be reserved for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where Lackman will work.
State-of-the-art operating rooms and a 24/7 emergency department will provide more opportunities for children in surrounding communities to receive care close to home. It will also provide relief to the main campus in West Philadelphia, which has roughly 600 available beds.

"We're jammed full," said Dr. Adzick, regarding the main campus. "So, there's constant battles to find beds for children, which we always do of course."

The new hospital in King of Prussia hopes to make the difference and continue a standard of excellence set by CHOP, which first opened in 1855.

Lackman is committed to reaching that standard of excellence every day.

"I look forward to just taking care of families and children and just letting them know, like you need to always stay positive," she said. "Just take it one day at a time."

The Middleman Family Pavilion in King of Prussia is set to open on Wednesday, January 26. To learn more, visit their website.

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