Patient Care

Two Large Gifts Support Second Phase of Children’s Hospital Construction

Jun. 9, 2016
Funds will add advanced cardiology and surgery capabilities for region’s children
cath lab

UR Medicine's Golisano Children’s Hospital has received its two largest gifts in support of Phase II construction on the new hospital building, which will help bring the facility to the forefront of pediatric surgery and pediatric cardiology centers in the Northeast.

Rita Buzzard, formerly of Buffalo, NY, has given $2 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital in honor of her late husband, Clay, and their six children. The gift will fund the Clay E. and Rita M. Buzzard Pediatric Cardiology Cath Lab Suite, a dedicated pediatric cardiac catheterization suite in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital building.

Meanwhile, Andy McDermott and Rob Burch, creators of the Fairport Music Festival, have pledged $750,000 to Phase II construction. The pediatric cardiac operating room will be named in honor of the music festival’s efforts, and the gift brings the festival’s total support of Golisano Children’s Hospital to $1.7 million over the past 11 years.

The two gifts bring the university to within $7 million of reaching its goal in support of the $190 million Golisano Children’s Hospital project. 

To thank them for their generosity, the donors will be given a personalized tour of the Phase II construction areas Thursday at 10 a.m. Walter Pegoli, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery, and Roger Vermilion, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, will host the tour, and media are invited to attend.

“These are remarkable gifts which will directly impact the care received by pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital for years to come,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We are extremely grateful to Rita Buzzard and her family, as well as Andy McDermott and Rob Burch, for their generosity.”

Phase II

Phase II construction of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital building commenced shortly after the building’s dedication in May 2015. The new areas, which will be located on the fourth and sixth floors, include: 

  • Six new operating rooms in the William and Mildred Levine Pediatric Surgical Suite, including the pediatric cardiac operating room.
  • The Clay E. and Rita M. Buzzard Pediatric Cardiac Cath Lab Suite, which will allow physicians to insert cardiac catheters in an environment designed specifically for the procedure.
  • 23 new private pre-op and post-op recovery rooms.
  • A gastroenterology surgical procedure suite.
  • Relocation of the current 12 ICU and 10 general care pediatric beds to the new tower, and an addition of six new pediatric ICU beds to accommodate rising demand.

 Cardiac catheters are used to diagnose and define cardiac anatomy, gauge the success of surgical treatments, and perform interventional procedures and electrophysiological studies. The pediatric cardiac operating room will house all complex pediatric cardiac surgeries.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and once the additions are complete, Golisano Children’s Hospital’s pediatric operating capabilities will far surpass anything in the region and will be on par with children’s hospitals in many of the country’s largest cities. Hospital physicians currently perform over 21,000 pediatric surgeries per year.

“Just like everything else in the new hospital, this suite will be built with children and families in mind,” said Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “In order to attract the best physicians and provide the best for our patients, we need to have the best possible tools available in our facility. The planned facility sets us up to continue to provide top-quality care and expand the array of procedures and conditions for which children and families will not have to leave the region to get the best.”

Generous support

Clay Buzzard, who died in 2013, was the owner of Middle Atlantic Warehouse Distributor, Inc., an auto parts distributor which began in Buffalo and has since spread throughout the United States. He acquired the company in 1963.

Prior to his business career, Clay Buzzard served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Wounded at the Battle of Saint-Lô in July, 1944, he earned a Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal. Shortly before his death, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal, which is given to U.S. veterans who helped liberate France during the war.

Five of the six Buzzard children were involved in the family business, leaving daughter Carol Buzzard, M.D., to pursue a career in medicine. A pediatric cardiologist, she has worked at Golisano Children’s Hospital since 1992; Rita Buzzard said that her daughter’s long tenure and dedication at URMC compelled her to make the gift to the hospital.

“We were very blessed — we had a great life together and had six healthy children who didn’t have to use a facility like Golisano Children’s Hospital,” said Rita Buzzard. “I’m just trying to give back to people who may not be as fortunate, and whose children may need more care.”

The Fairport Music Festival, created by McDermott and Burch, began its support for Golisano Children’s Hospital in 2005. Their contributions have helped support the Play Room in the new children’s hospital, a private patient room, and major nursing station in the new hospital.

McDermott and Burch have also previously provided funds for the play area in the treatment center, the purchase of large flat screen televisions for many patient rooms, and several other needed items. This year’s festival takes place Aug. 26-27.

“There are so many supporters of the Fairport Music Festival that it’s easy to imagine that one day, some will need the children’s hospital’s services,” said McDermott. “If they do, we hope that they can reflect happily that their contributions through the festival have helped contribute to the excellent care they’ll receive at Golisano Children’s Hospital.”