Original Flying Nun Visits Children's Hospital of Illinois

Jun 8, 2016

Shannon Perry (left) tours the NICU at Children's Hospital of Illinois where she was nurse from 1965 - 1967. Perry has a PhD in nursing and is a professor at San Francisco State University.
Credit Tanya Koonce

The nurse-nun who accompanied the first life-flighted premature baby nearly 50 years ago, for what is now Children’s Hospital of Illinois, toured the facility today. 

Shannon Perry left the sisterhood soon after that first helicopter transport in 1967, and is a professor at San Francisco State University. 

Perry says the new neonatal intensive care unit has advanced a long way in 50 years:

“The transport incubator is completely different. The fact that they can put babies on ventilators and breath for them, I mean our babies died sometimes because we didn’t have that capability.”

Perry who has a PhD in nursing, spoke to the room full of nurses after touring the Children’s Hospital NICU. 

She says she’s collected details on the pioneering preemie life-flights, and told the nurses at Children’s Hospital she is looking for an appropriate, secure repository for the historical information.