Hospital Gala to Raise Funds for New Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

October 26, 2002

More than 600 community members will gather tonight, Oct. 26, during the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Gala to raise money for an increasingly needed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Construction of the new unit is set to begin next summer.

During the past year, Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong has taken significant steps toward fulfilling a variety of pressing health care needs for children throughout the region, the most important of which involves the construction of a new, larger Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). “There’s never been a more exciting - or more important - time to support Golisano Children’s Hospital, says Elizabeth McAnarney, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief. “We’re making great strides to become the best hospital for children in upstate New York.”

With the exception of pediatric heart transplantation, for which it is licensed, Golisano Children’s Hospital offers almost every medical service and treatment a child may need, many of which are reserved for larger cities. The media is invited to learn more about the hospital and its need for a new PICU at the Gala. The event is from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 26, at USAirports Air Charters Aircraft Hangar, 240 Airport Way, at the Greater Rochester International Airport.

Fund-raising campaign underway

 In April, the hospital launched a $55-million, comprehensive campaign to enhance its services, facilities, and staff. This monumental effort requires raising $30 million from the community, at which time the University of Rochester Medical Center - of which Golisano Children’s Hospital is a part - will contribute the remaining $25 million. With a generous $14 million naming gift from B. Thomas Golisano, founder and CEO of Paychex Inc., and a recent $2 million grant from the state Assembly, major commitments exceed $16 million.

The centerpiece of the hospital’s strategic plan is a new, 22-bed PICU, one that includes a dedicated Pediatric Cardiology Intensive Care Unit to accommodate the work being performed by the hospital’s pediatric heart team. In addition to expanding the PICU, the comprehensive campaign will help Golisano Children’s Hospital create a dedicated Pediatric Surgical Suite for children and their families. This will provide the needed operating and waiting rooms to accommodate the expanding range of pediatric surgical services, including general pediatric surgery, heart surgery, and neurosurgery.

The campaign also will allow the hospital to fulfill other parts of its strategic plan. For example, the hospital intends to recruit leaders for specialty and sub-specialty care and research, such as specialists in pediatric cardiovascular diseases, general pediatric surgery, intensive care, genetics, pediatric cancer biology, vaccine development, neonatology, pulmonology, and child health.

“We are seeking to make significant upgrades to Rochester’s only children’s hospital, and we’re making real progress,” McAnarney says. “With continued support from individuals, businesses, organizations, and government leaders, we’ll be well-positioned to provide even better health care services to children when they need help most. With four years remaining in the campaign, we’re very pleased about the excitement that is building in the community.”

The need for a new PICU

During the last decade, in an effort to ensure that no child need leave Rochester for health care, Golisano Children’s Hospital dramatically upgraded its specialty services. By offering more to local children - such as providing a host of highly skilled surgeons, all specially trained to care for youngsters - the hospital ensured that youngsters no longer had to travel to larger cities such as Boston, Chicago, or Pittsburgh for the best care.

For example, the number of children undergoing general pediatric surgery and pediatric heart surgery at Golisano Children’s Hospital is on the rise. As the hospital cares for more children and their needs locally, the demand for more PICU beds grows. Golisano Children’s Hospital has the region’s only two board-certified pediatric surgeons, operating more than 1,200 times a year, as well as surgeons specially trained in pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric plastic surgery. All of these surgeons need to be able to provide intensive care to their patients.

Given projections of patient care needs, the current PICU will soon be undersized. While still functional, the 12-bed unit - opened in 1989 - is often operating near capacity. Five years ago, there were eight children in the PICU on any given day. Today, the PICU census is about 10 each day. Some of these children were involved in car accidents. Many are recovering from major surgery. Some are dealing with the effects of a severe asthma attack or battling cancer.

More than 800 children are treated annually in the PICU, an increase from 550 a year in the early 1990s. Several years ago, Golisano Children’s Hospital recognized this trend of increasing need, and began planning for the new unit, which will be built above the year-old emergency department along Elmwood Avenue.

Continued support is crucial

As the only one between Buffalo and Syracuse, the PICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital s is a unique resource to the region, one that isn’t duplicated or found elsewhere in Rochester. In fact, every child in our region who requires intensive care is admitted to the PICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital. This eliminates the high cost of duplication of services, but, most importantly, it allows for centralization of resources and expertise.

 “Of critical importance to children and their families is the ability to stay close to home for treatment,” McAnarney says. “A new PICU will allow Golisano Children’s Hospital to continue offering the services children need and deserve - in their hometown.”

Although Golisano Children’s Hospital offers many more services than it did just a decade ago, the hospital is not content with the status quo. “Our evolution into a premier children’s hospital has come about because of a wonderful blend of planning and community support,” McAnarney says. “This state grant is our second major fund-raising milestone in six months, but we implore the community to keep supporting us as they have done so generously for years. Without the help of everyone, our progress will stall. Our children deserve the best.”

Howard Jacobson is the Gala chair, and Anthony and Elaine Costello are serving as honorary co-chairs. Among the highlights of the Gala are dinner, live and silent auctions, and the opportunity to meet some of the best pediatric health care providers in the nation. For tickets or more information, call 585-273-5948.

For Media Inquiries:
Public Relations Department
(585) 275-3676
Email Public Relations