Caring for children has been a priority at Mayo Clinic since the earliest days of practice in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1896, the Mayo brothers used their first X-ray to help a small boy who had swallowed an open buckle. The then-new technology allowed them to locate the buckle and successfully plan its removal.

Mayo Clinic was one of the pioneer medical centers to organize a pediatric practice. Much of the early pediatric practice at Mayo focused on childhood infections, broken bones and physical deformities.

A gift to children

Construction of Mayo Clinic Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital was funded almost entirely by private gifts, including a donation from the Litta Foundation.

In 1948, young Eugenio Litta set out from his hometown in Italy to go with his family on an overseas trip. They boarded a ship and looked forward to spending a happy time together. During the voyage, however, Eugenio suddenly became ill. Before the ship could reach port, he died.

Those who loved Eugenio never forgot him. To honor his memory and to help provide outstanding care for children from around the world, contributions were given to establish Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital.

Today, Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital carries the Mayo Clinic tradition of excellent service into the 21st century.