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Albany Med opens first pediatric emergency center in Northeast NY

July 6, 2018 | by Kariann Morris

July 31, 2018 06:57 PM

Albany Medical Center cut the ribbon on the only pediatric emergency department in Northeastern New York. The facility has been two years in the making.

Kids aren’t just pint-sized adults. Their health and emotional needs are different. Providing care with those needs in mind is at the heart of the new center.

When a $52 million addition is opened, there’s got to be a ribbon cutting and a toast. Given the care that will be provided at the new Massry Family Children’s Emergency Center at Albany Med, light-hearted moments may be hard to find.

“I understood that any credible claim to our being a superb children’s hospital had to include the certainty of a separate pediatric emergency building,” explained Albany Med CEO and President Jim Barba.

That understanding came back in 2010 when one of Barba’s grandchildren needed emergency care.

Plans came to fruition in 2016 for the only pediatric emergency department in Northeast NY.

It’s home to treatment and procedure rooms, x-ray and other imaging geared with children in mind. Even the waiting room is sensitive to children’s needs, with touch screenplay stations and other kid friendly flourishes.

“It’s also about the staff. So we have staff that are specially trained in pediatric emergency medicine — specialized nurses and physicians,” noted Dr. Denis Pauze, acting chair of the Albany Medical Center Emergency Department.

The special consideration for kids starts right from the beginning. In the event a child has to arrive by ambulance, there is a unique entrance just for ambulances carrying children, so the kids never have to interact with an adult population.

The new center is expected to handle at least 16,000 pediatric visits, the number logged in the main emergency department last year. Among them, Ryan Digmon from Gloversville. Last year, as his mom Melissa Digmon explained, he suffered a severely broken arm, necessitating an ambulance trip to the emergency department at Albany Medical Center.

“This new pediatric emergency department is beautiful and a wonderful asset to not only the Albany community, but also the small towns and the surrounding areas that may have to utilize it in the unfortunate event that something serious has happened,” noted Digmon.

As the celebration wrapped up, Norman Massry, whose family name adorns the mew building, shared advice from a grandfather’s perspective.

“So listen guys, please try to stay out of here as you grow up,” he said with a smile. “But if you need to stop by to treat a bump or bruise, rest assured you will be treated with great care.”