When your child is in the hospital you are worried sick, but you have hope.
My son was born at the old WVU Hospital 35 years ago with a medical condition that required surgery. After the operation, he needed specialized care for about two weeks.
The “step-down” intensive care unit was in a repurposed utility room. The care was outstanding, and Ben made a full recovery, but the physical plant left a lot to be desired.
Later, the children’s care unit made a significant leap forward when the new J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital was built. And now, WVU Medicine has reached the pinnacle of care with the opening of the Children’s Hospital.
I toured the facility last week, just one day before patients moved in. Here are some of the features that stand out about the nine-story, 159-bed hospital:
–It is one of just 25 pediatric hospitals in the United States that is attached to a larger academic medical center.
–Its services are self-contained, meaning whatever care or treatment that is needed, even the most highly specialized care, can be offered in one facility.
–The hospital has the state’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, Level II pediatric trauma care center and advanced surgery program for children with life-threatening heart and lung conditions.
–The hospital features advanced birthing rooms designed to accommodate women with high-risk pregnancies.
–The building has its own emergency department and helipad, separate from the main hospital.
–The regular rooms are designed so parents can essentially live at the hospital while their children are there.
–The entire hospital is bright with lots of windows. There are special playrooms for the children, spaces where children and their parents can have more private family time, and a neat top floor with a WVU sports theme.
–Perhaps most importantly, the new hospital is a recruiting tool. Albert Wright, president and CEO of West Virginia University Health System, told me the facility has made it easier to attract top-tier doctors who want to work in a hospital that specializes in children’s care.
The last thing any parent wants to do is take their child to the hospital. That is traumatic for the child and the parent. The new WVU Medicine Children’s hospital will be a comforting place for that care, uniquely designed to be as patient- and parent-friendly as possible, while providing state-of-the-art care.
It is hope’s new home.