What happened to “T.C. Thompson” in the Children’s Hospital name?

You may have noticed recent references to “Children’s Hospital at Erlanger” instead of “T. C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.” So, you may ask, “Has ‘T.C. Thompson’ been dropped from the official name of the hospital?”

The answer is simple: No.

T.C. Thompson (Chattanooga’s mayor from 1909 to 1915) will remain part of the official name of Children’s Hospital. However, to make sure everyone realizes that the facility is dedicated solely to the healthcare needs of infants, toddlers, adolescents, and teens, a shorter, more descriptive term is now being used: Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

While serving as President of the local Civitan Club in the 1920’s, T.C. Thompson spearheaded the movement to build a hospital exclusively for children, and the new facility opened its doors in Glenwood during 1929. Soon after Thompson’s death in 1938, the name of Children’s Hospital became “T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital” in honor of the man known as “the father of Children’s Hospital.”

Over the years, many people shortened the name to “T.C. Thompson’s” as a more convenient verbal reference to the hospital. But with the growth of the region, the abbreviated version became “lost in translation”—especially among newcomers to Chattanooga and the surrounding counties. In fact, many people were not aware that “T.C. Thompson’s” is actually the region’s only children’s hospital.

Last year, Erlanger and Children’s Hospital officials, along with Thompson’s descendants, agreed that public emphasis of the name should be shifted from the founding father to a shorter, more descriptive term of the actual facility and who it serves. New broadcast and print ads were developed with the aim of increasing awareness of the region’s only healthcare institution dedicated solely to children.

Thompson once wrote in his journal, “We need a place for children, and it needs to be here in Chattanooga.” Nine decades later, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger continues to honor the vision of its founder as the exclusive provider of children’s healthcare for the region. Marketing materials are now highlighting the unique aspects of Children’s Hospital at Erlanger with the reminder that it is “The right place for kids. Right here at home.”