Father Understands Power of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

July 11, 2002

Mark Siewert never wanted to know about Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong in such a personal and profound way. After months of visiting his teen-ager in the hospital, he saw first-hand how intently the staff cares for critically ill and injured children. With that commitment in mind, he joined the hospital’s board of directors.

Mark Daniel Siewert, 18, was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on Nov. 12, 2001, where he is still being cared for today. His condition, associated with complications from a hernia and partial blockage of his intestines, was so tenuous during the first 180 days he was in the PICU that his parents didn’t leave him overnight.

“My wife, Marcia, and I would alternate the overnights with each of us taking turns staying with him in his room,” Siewert says. “Marcia has been unbelievable throughout this whole experience. She’s been a rock.”

Siewert also heaps praise on the staff at Golisano Children’s Hospital, which has stayed by the family during the ordeal. “I can’t think of enough superlatives about the staff at this hospital, and the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists in the PICU,” Siewert says. “The skill level and technology are amazing. They are very caring people.”

On several occasions, Siewert says he’s had some “real heart-to-heart conversations” with Frank Maffei, M.D., a pediatric intensivist in the PICU. “I really respect his opinion, and the opinions of all the intensivists. We’ve had an unpredictable ride, but everyone has stuck with us the entire way and taken care of us as a family.”

Siewert is the co-owner of Siewert Equipment Co., a Rochester-based distributor and manufacturer’s representative of mixers, pumps, and water- and wastewater-processing equipment. The company, which was founded in 1949 by Mark’s father, Si Siewert, has more than 50 employees. The business also has locations in Buffalo and Troy, serving New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Siewert has experience on other non-profit boards, including Al Sigl’s Partners Foundation. He also served as past chair of Mary Cariola Children’s Center, and is now the chair of the Heritage Christian Home Foundation board. Based upon his experience at Golisano Children’s Hospital, Siewert is particularly interested in helping the hospital in its quest to fund and construct a new 22-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

“I can see firsthand how badly it is needed,” says Siewert, whose other son, 16-year-old Chris, attends Pittsford-Mendon High School. “I would have hated to see a ‘No Vacancy’ sign out when we needed it most.”

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