Today’s news:

Cohen’s Center opens $7.8M child care unit

Cohen Children’s Medical Center, at 269-01 76th Ave. in New Hyde Park, was scheduled to open its new $7.8 million pediatric intensive care unit Wednesday, a spokesman for the hospital said.

The rooms of the eight-bed unit are fitted with sleeper-sofas so parents can be with their children throughout their stay at the hospital, family workstations to enable parents to get work done, flat-screen televisions and coffee machines, said Dr. Peter Silver, chief of critical care at Cohen’s.

Silver said the unit “will further increase our ability to care for critically ill children throughout the tri-state area.”

The unit will be officially known as the Gertrude and Louis Feil Pediatric Intensive Care Unit after the couple who donated funds for its construction.

Dr. Arthur Klein, executive director and chief of staff of the hospital, said the new unit “represents the best technology and the highest state of the art.”

Cohen’s also recently received a $400,000 portable CT scan machine to be used to take pictures of children’s brains in the unit, since they are too ill to be taken to the radiology department.

Anne McGrath, director of patient care services for pediatric and neonatal critical care at Cohen’s, said the private rooms of the unit gives caregivers additional space to help them control infections.

“When a child arrives in our unit immediately after a complex surgical procedure, there can easily be at least nine medical professionals working on the patient simultaneously,” she told Kids First, a publication put out by Cohen’s. “The jobs of each caregiver are of equal importance and urgency, so more space is essential for a patient in critical condition.”

Of the eight new rooms, two will be furnished with ceiling-mounted booms, which allow the unit’s staff to access power, medical gases and monitoring and communications systems that are needed to care for a child in the unit.

After the unit opens, Cohen’s will start renovating its current 20-bed pediatric intensive care unit.

An additional 25-bed pediatric intensive care unit is part of Cohen’s plans for a new six-story, 100,000-square-foot pavilion.

Construction is expected to be finished by December 2012.

Kevin McGeachy, deputy executive director at Cohen’s, said the eight-bed pediatric intensive care unit opening this week will be converted to hematology/oncology beds when construction on the 25-bed unit is complete.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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