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New, expanded children’s emergency department to open as the largest in the region

– 14 beds plus fast track; full-time child life specialist –
– Bishop of Metuchen to speak at April 8 unveiling; public tours available –

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (March 26, 2013) - Saint Peter’s University Hospital will unveil its new and expanded pediatric emergency department during a grand-opening reception at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 8, to be followed by public tours of the facility on Tuesday, April 9.

New Children's Emergency Department Private Room

An artist’s rendering shows one of the 11 private rooms in the Pediatric ED.

The facility, to be known as the Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department, will feature 14 beds plus fast track, making it the largest of its kind in the region, defined as Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Union, and Monmouth counties.

The Most Rev. Paul G. Bootkoski, the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, will offer introductory remarks at the opening reception. He will be joined by speakers Ronald C. Rak, J.D., president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System; Michael Hochberg, M.D., chairman of emergency services; Bipin Patel, M.D., chairman of the department of pediatrics, and Heather Veltre, RN, nursing director, emergency services.

Saint Peter’s physicians, staff, community partners and donors will be in attendance at the April 8 reception. The public may tour the facility from 2 to 7 p.m. on April 9. No appointment is necessary. Call 732-745-8600, Ext. 6574, for more information.

“Each year Saint Peter’s treats approximately 22,000 infants, children and young adults through our pediatric ED,” said Rak. “Approximately 2,200 to 2,400 of those young patients are admitted to our hospital as in-patients. More than 50 percent of the children visiting the pediatric ED live at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. Saint Peter’s is committed to the expert care of every one of those children. The Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department will greatly further our cause in that mission of care.”

The Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department will be 5,200 square feet in size and 11 of its 14 beds will be in private rooms. The fast track area will enable patients with acute but non-life-threatening conditions to be diagnosed, treated and released within 90 minutes. The pediatric ED will treat patients from newborns to 18 years old. The entire facility – floors, to beds, to equipment – will be brand-new and state of the art.

Among its special features, the Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department will also house a full-time child life specialist to answer any of the emotional concerns of a child and family members during a visit. “The child life specialist helps the child and family cope with illness, treatments and procedures by using therapeutic and diversionary interventions, medical and procedural play, and offers coping techniques,” Hochberg said. “If a child is admitted to the hospital, the child life specialist aids that transition.”

The Dorothy B. Hersh Foundation committed a $1 million grant to help fund the project. The Dorothy B. Hersh Foundation has been a long-time benefactor of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, including its support for the Dorothy B. Hersh Regional Child Protection Center at the Family Health Center on How Lane in New Brunswick.

“The Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric ED will help ensure that every child who seeks our aid will receive nothing less than the best treatment that is available,” Rak said.

The opening of the Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department represents the first phase of a two-and-a-half-year-long construction project to modernize and expand the entirety of the Saint Peter’s Emergency Department, which was built in the 1970s.

Phase 1 of the project encompassed the completion of the Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department as well as a new front entrance for the Emergency Department, including a redesigned area for walk-in patients and a larger entranceway for ambulances.

Phase 2 will add adult and pediatric “fast-track” rooms and additional treatment beds.

Phases 3, 4 and 5 will address the main Emergency Department, including the creation of three treatment “pods,” each of which will focus on separate treatment areas: acute care; women’s health, and rapid-treatment patients. The acute-care bay will be designed to treat emergency situations such as heart attack and stroke. The women’s health pod will respond to conditions such as early pregnancy complications and OB/GYN emergencies. The rapid-treatment section will offer accelerated services such as IV fluids and brief imaging. This area is designed to enable patients to return home both quickly and safely.

Among its special features:

  • The Emergency Department will be built to be “geriatrics friendly,” meaning it will feature softer lighting, less noise, more comfortable mattresses, and easier-to-use beds.
  • The Emergency Department will hold 56 beds, the vast majority of them in four-wall private rooms. Others – so-called “curtained rooms” – will be in the fast-track area.
  • The layout is designed to enhance the process of rapid and efficient patient care.

To make a gift or to learn more about the emergency department renovation and expansion, call the Saint Peter’s Foundation at 732-745-8600, Ext. 6574.

About Saint Peter's University Hospital
Saint Peter's University Hospital is a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. Saint Peter's is a state-designated children's hospital and a regional perinatal center, and is a regional specialist in geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, women's services and ambulatory care.

The Children's Hospital at Saint Peter's University Hospital provides families with access to a full range of pediatric specialties, including pediatric cardiology through its affiliation with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Saint Peter's is a sponsor of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine, and is a regional medical campus of Drexel University College of Medicine. Saint Peter's also sponsors a residency program in orthopedic surgery in affiliation with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The hospital, part of the Saint Peter's Healthcare System, is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, is recognized as a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, is a three-time winner of the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence in Nursing, and is recognized by the American Diabetes Association in all areas of diabetes education. Saint Peter's is located at 254 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. For more information about Saint Peter's, please visit or call 732-745-8600.


Philip Hartman
Director of Public Relations
Saint Peter's Healthcare System
New Brunswick, N.J.