US clinic concerned by clash with Irish children’s hospital

‘Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland’ echoes name of Arizona institute

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and  Minister for Health Simon Harris at the official sod turning ceremony of the new national children’s hospital.  Photograph:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris at the official sod turning ceremony of the new national children’s hospital. Photograph:


The Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona has expressed concerns about plans to adopt a similar name for the new €1 billion national paediatric hospital in Ireland.

Earlier this week, Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that the new hospital, which is being developed on the campus of St James’s Hospital, will be known as Phoenix Children’s Hospital Ireland.

However, there already is a paediatric facility called the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona.

In a statement issued to The Irish Times, the Arizona hospital said it had “expressed our concerns about the unavoidable likelihood of confusion”.

The facility, which is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the US and employs more than 2,000 staff, suggested that such confusion was already evident in the media and on the internet.

A spokeswoman for the Children’s Hospital Group in Dublin – which plays a central role in driving the development of the new national paediatric hospital – confirmed its chief executive has had a number of conversations with executives in the US about the name.

She said the main concern of the hospital in Arizona was in relation to how the name would be used internationally.

“While some level of concern was raised in relation to our name they did accept that we are in different jurisdictions and we are registered in different trademark regions (them in the USA and we in Europe) and they want to work with us in a collaborative way to avoid any unnecessary confusion in the international/global environment,” the spokeswoman said. “ We have agreed to work collaboratively as we develop our brand to assist in making our logo distinctive and help further distinguish the two different entities.”

It has also emerged that doctors’ representatives in Ireland’s three existing paediatric hospitals – Our Lady’s in Crumlin, the National Children’s Hospital in Tallaght and the Children’s Hospital in Temple Street – have unanimously opposed the planned name.

In a statement on Monday, the Children’s Hospital Group said it had received no formal communication on the name from the joint medical board of the three hospitals, but that concerns had been raised informally.

However, The Irish Times has seen a letter dated October 12th drawn up by the joint medical board which sets out concerns about the planned new name.

“Many members felt that the name was very insensitive to the families of the children whose organs were retained and subsequently incinerated and would serve as a constant reminder to these families of their loss,” the letter states.

“A subsequent vote by the joint medical board was unanimous in its rejection of the name ‘Phoenix Children’s Hospital’ for the new paediatric hospital.”

The letter was addressed to the Children’s Hospital Group’s chief executive Eilsh Hardiman. The group said on Thursday that Ms Hardiman had only seen the letter this Wednesday, two days after the public announcement of the name.

The group will discuss the naming strategy, the rationale for name selection and how it will be used at a medical board meeting of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, in the coming weeks.

When asked whether the name will be reviewed in light of concerns, the Children’s Hospital Group did not answer the question directly. “The new name was confirmed on Monday, following a nine-month extensive and inclusive consultation process involving staff, children, young people and services.”