By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the first of its kind in Maryland and all of the U.S.: a hospice for children with terminal illnesses.

Mary Bubala reports it’s difficult to think about, but for many families, this new center fills a void during the most painful time.

Right off MLK Boulevard in Baltimore City now sits Dr. Bob’s Place.  It’s a hospice facility for children named after Dr. Bob Irwin.  The well-known pediatrician felt strongly children needed a place to die with love, comfort and care—just like adults.

“So often children died in an intensive care unit setting and he worried they weren’t comfortable.  He worried their pain and symptoms weren’t being managed well,” said Dr. Bob’s Place Director Janet Will.

So, years before his death in 2001, Dr. Bob started fundraising.  Others followed and now his dream is a reality.  The $4.6 million facility opened early last month.

“I love how it feels.  It feels happy, it feels comforting.  It feels like home,” said Dr. Bob’s Place Executive Director Charlotte Hawtin.

The first patient moved in Monday.  There are 10 rooms and other common rooms to make the children—from babies to 18-year-olds—feel at home.

All of the patients’ rooms are private. There’s enough room for a mom or dad to sleep with their child every night if they want to.

Dr. Bob’s Place is new, but its pediatric staff—nurses, doctors and social workers—have decades of experience in end of life care.

“What’s so unique about them compared to adults is that they don’t want to be in bed.  They want to be in the playroom; they want to watch a movie; they want to sit and have popcorn with Mom and Dad and what we have to do is help them get comfortable enough and provide enough supportive care so they can do those things,” Will said.

Funding for Dr. Bob’s Place came from grants and local foundations, as well as from the city and the state.

Comments (8)
  1. Ruth says:

    What a wonderful facility for your state. In Vancouver, BC, we have an incredible hospice for children called Canuck Place. It’s one of the few charities I whole heartedly support with the hope that I will never need their services. I hope the people of Maryland continue to support this very special place.

  2. Megan says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful service. I am in awe of this, and frankly I’m surprised that we don’t have other facilities of this nature in the States. There is little in life more precious than providing comfort and care (and a smile). Best of luck as this organization opens its door.

  3. ruthfassett says:

    bless that dr bob what a blessing that is. idont have much but i would at least donate 15 dollars toe youre facilititie please lrt me kow where i can send my little donatins and thank-you for caring so much ruth fassett florida.

  4. Angela Wilks says:

    Donations can be sent to:
    Dr. Bob’s Place
    838 N. Eutaw Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    Or please visit, and click “donate now”.

    1. Leslie says:

      I am delighted that this wonderful facility is open for children and their families during a difficult time of life. It is a beautiful place and so full of love.

  5. kidsadvocate says:

    There are other facilities like this- or at least one that I know of. On the West Coast, the George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro (near San Francisco) is a pediatric respite and hospice facility that has been available since 2004. I have friends who are staying there now. It’s unfortunate that these facilities need to exist, but they are great comfort for the families when they are.

    1. kidsadvocate says:

      …when they are needed. (sorry for incomplete sentence).

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