Children’s Hospital, now Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, was conceptualized in the late 1880s when Dr. Mahlon Bainbridge Folwell began to vocalize his opinion that mingling ill children with adults was counterproductive to a child’s healthcare and recuperation. Dr. Folwell believed that hospitalized kids would recuperate faster and more completely if they were treated and housed separately from adults. In 1891, Mrs. Gibson T. Williams and her daughter Martha Tenney Williams heard his message and agreed. They purchased and renovated the vacant home of the Smith family at 219 Bryant Street in Buffalo, New York, and The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo was incorporated in May 1892 as two-story brick hospital with the capacity to house twelve patients.
During the hospital’s first year of operation, many patients were turned away due to lack of space. In 1893, Mrs. Williams and her daughter purchased an additional property adjacent to 219 Bryant, and converted it into hospital facilities by adding forty beds. From the 1900s to the 1950s, Children’s Hospital expanded and a new building was constructed with modernized equipment. Hospital capacity grew to 200 pediatric beds and 75 maternity beds. Today, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, now affiliated with the Kaleida Health System, serves more than 28,000 inpatients annually and more than 150,000 outpatient visits to its emergency room or one of its forty-five specialty clinics.
In recent years, laborers who assisted in the construction of Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated as a component of insulation and building materials, including joint compound, pipe covering and fireproofing materials. These materials were used during the construction of Children’s Hospital. Laborers who handled materials that contained asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at high risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma.
Many trades, including carpenters, plasterers, fire proofers, pipe coverers, plumbers, insulators and electrician helped to construct Children’s Hospital. Asbestos-containing materials insulated pipes and ducts, boilers and structural steel throughout the hospital. Laborers and tradesmen hired to apply, remove or work in the vicinity of these building materials may have been exposed to asbestos dust. Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for Children's Hospital were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of Children’s Hospital and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.