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That’s a wrap: Last baby born, swaddled at Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center

By Carolyn Kimmel

When Aiden Shimp was born at 4:05 p.m. Dec. 1 at Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center, he was already making history.

His name will go down in the record books as the last of 59,950 babies – make that 59,951 – born on the maternity floor at the former Holy Spirit Hospital, which opened in March 1963.

“That’s pretty momentous,” said his mom, Candace Jones. “Holy Spirit is really a special hospital that’s the center of our community. Being the last baby born there makes Aiden even more special.”

Labor and delivery services transitioned on Dec. 1 from Holy Spirit Medical Center to the new Women and Babies Center at Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center in Enola.

Jones, a first-time mom from Camp Hill who was a week overdue, had planned to be induced at Hampden Medical Center on Dec. 1. However, when her water broke in the pre-dawn hours, she went to Holy Spirit Medical Center, where she says her family has always gotten their medical care. She and Zach Shimp welcomed Aiden there and transferred to Hampden Medical Center later that night.

“The new unit at Hampden is very nice,” Jones said. “It’s spacious and bright.”

Fun fact for life

Esther Taylor, who has short hair and wears a hospital gown, lies in a hospital bed, cradling her newborn son, whose face is peeking out from a blanket. A nun and a man in a suit holding a large envelope stand by the bed.

Esther Taylor cradles her newborn son, Matthew Taylor, who was the first baby born at the former Holy Spirit Hospital in March 1963.

Aiden’s status as the last baby born at Holy Spirit Medical Center will be a significant birthday fact, predicts Mechanicsburg resident Matt Taylor. He ought to know – he carries the distinction of being the first baby born at what was then known as Holy Spirit Hospital.

“I just always knew I was the first one born there,” said Taylor, who came into the world on March 6, 1963. “Growing up, it was no big deal, but as I’ve gotten older, my feelings have changed. It’s actually a pretty cool piece of information.”

The hospital gave him a $50 savings bond at his birth, which his parents made him cash in when he was 13 to buy a new bike. “I crashed my bike, and I guess they were trying to teach me the value of a dollar,” he said with a chuckle. “I didn’t care for that idea too much, but I didn’t have a choice.”

His parents were devout Catholics, and Taylor said his mom probably jumped at the chance to have her baby at a Catholic hospital. The last of seven children in his family, he thinks his birth wouldn’t have been as memorable had it not been the first at the new hospital.

“The lucky first kid born at Hampden Medical Center will have something memorable too, and no one can take that away from you, ever,” said Taylor, who began working at his birthplace 10 years ago as a security guard, after retiring from the Harrisburg Police Bureau. Currently, he’s the lab courier supervisor at Holy Spirit.

Matt Taylor, who has a crewcut, beard and moustache and wears a quarter-zip jacket, smiles as he stands in front a bed and bassinet in the labor and delivery unit at Holy Spirit Medical Center.

Matt Taylor is currently the lab courier supervisor at Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center, where he was the first baby born in March 1963.

New location better serves new moms

The relocation of labor and delivery and the special care and well-baby nursery is part of Penn State Health’s two-hospital strategy on the West Shore to take advantage of each hospital’s strengths and best serve the health care needs of the surrounding communities.

For moms and babies who need it, coordinated care between Hampden Medical Center and Penn State Health Children’s Hospital in Hershey will be readily available.

“I want to thank all of the providers and employees who provided excellent care to close to 60,000 babies who were born at Holy Spirit Medical Center over almost six decades,” said Don McKenna, regional president, Penn State Health Holy Spirit and Hampden medical centers. “That history will never be forgotten.”

Having the support of the Sisters of Christian Charity, sponsors of Holy Spirit Medical Center, was very important to health system leadership during the transition, McKenna said.

“We know the patients will continue to be treated with respect, integrity, compassion and excellence,” said Sister Mary Joseph Albright, vice president of Mission Integration, Holy Spirit Medical Center. “Hampden Medical Center and our patients will benefit from the strong foundation that we have built at Holy Spirit Medical Center.”

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