Albany Med breaks ground on Pediatric ED

January 10, 2017 05:53 PM

ALBANY - Five year old Aedan Conway, of Delmar, had his first open heart surgery when he was four days old. He's had many more procedures an visits to Albany Medical Center since, including one last November.

"The things we had to hear and see, at that age he probably wasn't aware but it impacted our ability t really focus on making sure he was getting the best care," said Jennifer Conway, Aedan's mother.

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The fear and anxiety that young children and their families endure during emergency room visits is being remedied.

The very fitting and very plastic ceremonial groundbreaking that took place on Tuesday involved a large pile of Legos, where little Aedan wielded the lead shovel. The event celebrates the beginning of what will become a four-story, 70,500 square foot Pediatric Emergency Department at Albany Medical Center.

"As much as we try to separate the kids, and we do," Albany Medical Center CEO James Barba, points out, "it's just not possible to keep them completely isolated. This facility will not have adults in it. It will only be for kids and that is very, very special."

Nearly 16,000 pediatric patients come through the emergency room doors each year at Albany Med, 20% of them are admitted.

"Once this building is built, we'll have more and more people who specialize only in terms of taking care of children and so my belief is that the outcomes will be better," says Dr. Christopher King, Chairman of Albany Medical Center's Emergency Medicine Department.

"When sometimes parents say, "Gee, should we take them through the ED knowing what that's going to mean? Can be bring them through Urgent Care? Do we wait until the morning for the pediatrician? Now, it's not going to be a question," Jennifer Conway says.

The $50 million project will be funded by loans and donations, including $20 million in philanthropic funding.

The new pediatric emergency department is expected to be open by Fall 2018.

Here's a list of features, courtesy of Albany Medical Center:

  • Triage area to immediately assess the severity of illness or injury
  • Fast-track unit for children and teens with less serious conditions
  • Observation unit for stays up to 23 hours
  • Private rooms designed for the safety and comfort of children and parents
  • On-site X-ray and imaging
  • Negative pressure rooms for suspected contagious disease
  • Peaceful and child-friendly décor and child-size equipment
  • Games, toys and television to provide a distraction for children
  • Valet parking
  • Easy access for ambulances
  • Nearby rooftop medical helicopter pad

Dan Levy speaks with a Delmar family about why this project has so much special significance to them on and our evening newscasts starting Live at 5.


WNYT Staff

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