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Retired anesthesiologist donates $1M to hospital

By STEVEN SPEARIE

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Dr. Babu Prasad came to the United States in 1971 after graduating from medical school in India with no money.

But Prasad became a successful anesthesiologist, including an 18-year stay at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, where he retired in 2004.

Prasad’s recent $1 million donation to the HSHS St. John’s Foundation for the neonatal intensive-care unit at St. John’s Children’s Hospital is his love letter to the hospital and community.

“I am giving back to a hospital, a community and a country that I dearly love,” Prasad said at a news conference at the hospital. “Springfield is a beautiful city and a wonderful place to live. I gave this contribution because I want Springfield to continue to grow, to bring new jobs here and to build upon the excellent medical community and medical services that we all enjoy.

“Children are our future, so I wanted to direct my gift to the neonatal intensive care unit to give the babies a healthy start to their lives.”

Prasad joined St. John’s in 1986. He still works two weeks per month at Interventional Pain Management Specialist in Carterville, Ill.

In October, St. John’s began a $19 million renovation and expansion of the NICU to provide single-family patient rooms for premature and critically-ill infants.

The project will more than double the size of the NICU, taking it from 15,000 square feet to 36,500. It will open in February.

Each year, approximately 2,000 babies are born at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. The NICU cares for about 700 babies annually from a 35-county area.

“Dr. Prasad’s gift is a beautiful testament as to who he is as a person,” said Beverly Neisler, chief development officer for the HSHS St. John’s Foundation. “He is a generous and kind man who has built a successful life through his hard work, dedication and determination.

“Today, St. John’s and our most vulnerable patients are benefiting from his generosity. It’s a wonderful day for St. John’s Children’s.

Neisler said Prasad has been “a consistent donor” of the NICU.

“He wanted to make a difference for Springfield and he wanted to make a difference for St. John’s,” Neisler added. “He has a real heart for babies and we’re delighted that he does.”

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