Upstate's New Pediatric ER Aims to Make Visits Less Scary for Patients, Families

Jun 30, 2016

Upstate Medical Center hopes a brand new Pediatric ER will help relieve stress on kids and parents visiting Urgent Care.  Director Doctor Richard Cantor says the $3 million project is a big step forward for the hospital.

Upstate Pediatric ER Director Dr. Richard Cantor speaks to the media during a tour of the to-be-completed space.
Credit Christian Unkenholz / WAER News

"This isn't just a little expansion," Cantor said.  "This is a brand new, freestanding pediatric emergency department that quite frankly, and I know this from the other places, is the nicest one in New York State.  Let's not forget an important thing here:  This is the norm in the country for pediatric emergency care; good people do good things in good places.” 

Plans include a separate waiting area for families and entertainment systems with both movies and video games to keep kids occupied.  Cantor says that one of the nicest features of the department will be new private examination rooms.

"Every room is private, single bed," Cantor said.  "Every room has a window, which is a miracle.  And every room has air conditioning and a bathroom.  Every patient room will have three seating areas for families.  Kids don't call a cab and come to the ED.  Mom and dad bring them, and they bring their sibs, so we’re all over that.” 

One of the patient rooms, still under construction.
Credit Christian Unkenholz / WAER News

There is currently no physical separation between the pediatric and adult emergency departments.  Overcrowding forces many pediatric rooms to hold up to three patients, with some kids being treated in the hallway. Cantor says overflow situations will be more pleasant after construction is completed.

"Think of this:  If you're in a hallway, which no one wants to be in, this hallway looks like Disneyworld," Cantor said.  "There are people to entertain you, and everything around you is childlike.  You go downstairs, I'm scared of the hallway in my ED.  So, we can change it.”      

The new Pediatric ER will have a capacity of 24 patients, while also freeing up 13 beds in the main ER.  Work on the expansion will move at a rapid pace, it’s scheduled to open August 9th.

Cantor makes his way down the hallway.
Credit Christian Unkenholz / WAER News