NEW HYDE PARK, NY – About a month ago, nine-year-old Ryan Barnett of Greenlawn, NY complained of a stomach virus, so his mother Kathleen brought him to a local hospital. At first, his mother was told it was a stomach virus and not to worry. The next night, his pain was so severe that his mother brought him back to the hospital, where it was decided he should stay overnight. The next morning, the results of blood work showed that Ryan had sepsis, a condition caused by the body’s overblown response to an infection or injury that leads to organ failure, shock and death in 35 percent of patients. It kills about 225,000 Americans a year.
At a recent news conference held in the new Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, Ryan and his family thanked Peter Silver, MD, chief of pediatric critical care at Cohen Children’s, who cared for the very sick youngster upon his arrival. Dr. Silver said clinicians in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit immediately set up four IVs of antibiotics for Ryan, who had slipped into a coma. Three days into his stay at Cohen, Ryan sat up for the first time and he returned to school April 8. Ms. Barnett says families in the region should be grateful to have a state-of-the-art children’s hospital close by to ease the pain and suffering of children and their families.
The new 115,000-square-foot facility, built at a cost of $130 million, is scheduled to open the week of May 6. It features:
- The region’s only stand-alone Pediatric Emergency Department, which includes 30 beds and two trauma bays;
- A 25-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) that expands the hospital’s PICU capacity to 37;
- 25 additional medical-surgical beds;
- A Pediatric Imaging Center; and
- Space for a future pediatric surgical suite.
Charles Schleien, MD, chair of pediatrics, said the expansion was especially important in meeting community needs, considering that Cohen is one of only two pediatric trauma centers in the New York area and the number of emergency visits has jumped by more than 20 percent in the past five years to over 40,000 children annually. “The pediatric ED, located on the first floor in the new pavilion, is expanding from 16 to 35 beds, along with two trauma bays and three beds for pediatric psychiatry patients,” he said.
The new five-story facility would not have been possible without the generosity and vision of Steven and Alexandra Cohen, who have enjoyed a 17-year-relationship with the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Prior to the $50 million gift that led to the renaming of the Children’s Hospital in March 2010, the Cohen Foundation donated $7 to North Shore-LIJ to build a new ambulatory pediatric chemotherapy unit and to establish an endowment called the Philip Lanzkowsky, MD, Professorship in Pediatrics.
The opening of this new facility marks a crowning achievement in the history of the hospital, which celebrates its 30th anniversary of service to the community since its official opening in 1983.