JONESBORO – After experiencing the level of care offered by Arkansas Children’s Hospital as both a patient and as the parent of a patient, Chris Fowler knew he wanted to do something to help offer that same level of care to other children and families in northeast Arkansas.
He and his wife Kim recently donated $250,000 to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital to create the Kim and Chris Fowler Pediatric Diagnostic Services Center at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Clinic in Jonesboro.
“I had no clue what Arkansas Children’s Hospital was, is or could be until 1999,” Chris Fowler said. “We took our youngest son to the doctor and he was having problems. When I told the doctor I’d take my baby anywhere in the world because I just wanted to get him the best care possible, the doctor sent us to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.”
Fowler said he was blown away by the care his son, just 10 weeks old, received.
“Everybody in Jonesboro thinks of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, but we have world-class talent right here in the state of Arkansas,” he told The Jonesboro Sun.
The exceptional care his son received was just the starting point for Fowler’s experience with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, as his youngest daughter developed a nut allergy that required treatment at the hospital – and Fowler himself has been a patient.
The Fowlers’ gift is expected to enhance diagnostic capabilities at the clinic to provide life-saving, subspecialty services for children in northeast Arkansas and surrounding communities.
For Chris Fowler, the need to support the work of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and its outreach clinics is personal.
“Pediatric care is just different. With an adult who needs an IV, you just slap it on there and tape it down, but watch them put an IV in a 10-week-old baby, and it’s miraculous,” he said. “They do surgery on something the size of a fingertip.”
In 2013, Arkansas Children’s Hospital once again made an impact on Chris Fowler’s life when he received cochlear implants at the hospital.
“They changed my life. I can hear. (I) can’t hear good, but I can hear,” he said. “If we can do that for one child, then we can begin to repay Arkansas Children’s Hospital for the care we have received.”
Though details are not yet firm, the Fowlers are hopeful that their gift will go toward diagnostic equipment for audiology.
The Jonesboro clinic offers 11 subspecialty clinics, including cardiology, developmental rehabilitation, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, genetics, infectious disease, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, sleep study and urology. The clinic also has telemedicine capabilities increasing access to care.