Cohen Children’s Medical Center has announced the opening of the Pediatric Surgical Operating Complex, a $110 million, 24,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art home for pediatric surgery that greatly enhances the capabilities of New York State’s No. 1 provider of pediatric health services and largest Level 1 pediatric trauma center, according to a news release.
The new Pediatric Surgical Operating Complex will specialize in cardiothoracic, neurologic and orthopedic procedures as well as general surgery, and was supported by several generous donors, including the Damaghi, Blumenfeld and Feil families. The complex is the culmination of a multi-year project that began with the Blumenfeld Family Pavilion, a five-story extension at the children’s hospital built in 2013 and named in honor of the Blumenfeld family’s lifetime giving to Cohen Children’s. Space was left in the master plan with new operating rooms (OR) in mind. Less than a decade later, the ORs were made possible, thanks in part to a generous gift from First Quality Enterprises, a manufacturing corporation in Great Neck, N.Y. The complex is named for the Damaghi family, who have supported Northwell for more than two decades.
“We understand that the surgical and anesthetic needs of neonates, infants, children and adolescents are absolutely unique and quite different than those for adults,” said Charles Schleien, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chair of pediatric services at Northwell Health and the Philip Lanzkowsky Chair and Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “The importance of this pediatric surgical operating complex cannot be overstated. The goal was to complete this crucial project through donor support and we’re grateful to the Damaghi family and First Quality Enterprises, and all of the members of our Cohen Children’s Advisory Board for stepping up. This is really a transformative space for patients, our community and for Northwell.”
The new complex features eight child-friendly OR suites with majestic photo walls that create an unintimidating environment. Potentially frightening surgical instruments are initially hidden, patients can enjoy their own music or videos before surgery and several play spaces populate the facility. The completion of this project will reduce wait times for pediatric and adult patients and transform care for the more than 8,000 patients who seek medical procedures at Cohen Children’s each year.
Surgeries had previously taken place in shared ORs at neighboring Long Island Jewish Medical Center, which like Cohen Children’s, is a member of Northwell Health. And at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unfinished PACU was converted into units for patients battling the coronavirus. Construction on the Damaghi Family Pediatric Surgical Operating Complex finally began in late 2021. The Blumenfeld Family Pavilion houses the Damaghi Family Surgical Operating Complex, the Rudolph Pediatric Emergency Center, the Children’s Medical Fund Center for Diagnostic Studies, patient floors and the Gertrude and Louis Feil Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“This operating suite is the culmination of so many people’s dreams,” said Jose Prince, MD, surgeon in chief at Cohen Children’s. “It is where we as surgeons work to save and protect the dreams of our patients and their families as we teach surgery to the next generation of pediatric surgeons.”
Each 600-square-foot operating suite is loaded with innovation, from no-shadow lighting to 3D imaging and four 50-inch monitors. Most of the surgical equipment is suspended from a singular boom, which greatly reduces the amount of space needed and allows for greater versatility.
The complex’s new pediatric Post-Anesthesia Care Unit includes 27 recovery bays ― each one 120 square feet ― complete with a stretcher for the recovering child, a physiological monitoring tower, an area designated for family members with a television for entertainment and a supply cart for nurses caring for the patient. In addition to the recovery bays, the PACU includes a medical playroom, which is available to calm the nerves of children prior to surgery, as well as those recovering. The trustees of the Louis and Gertrude Feil Family Charitable Trust made a generous gift to support this project, named the Gertrude and Louis Feil Post-Anesthesia Care Unit in honor of the Feil family.
US News & World Report has ranked Cohen Children’s among the nation’s top children’s hospitals for the 16th consecutive year. Funding for the OR complex was part of Northwell’s Outpacing the Impossible campaign, an ambitious $1 billion comprehensive fundraising effort to fuel innovation to advance health care and support Northwell’s promise to the people it serves.