Just what the doctor ordered

Shaare Zedek opens a new pediatric emergency department

Competition, especially among Jerusalem hospitals, is good for health. Every time the Hadassah Medical Organization builds more sophisticated, beneficial and beautiful facilities in Jerusalem, its main competitor - Shaare Zedek Medical Center - counters with a new service or facility of its own. And Hadassah does the same when Shaare Zedek innovates. Now, a new pediatric emergency department has opened at Shaare Zedek that is larger, brighter and more advanced than its old one. And construction work has just begun on its Wilf Family Children's Hospital, due to be completed in two years. The emergency department from the entrance level in the main hospital building already offers 12 beds with sophisticated monitors that in an emergency can be doubled, outpatient facilities for kidney dialysis, neurology, a day hospital, departmental offices and teaching facilities. The Wilf hospital, adjacent and one floor up, will offer 35 pediatric beds, six intensive-care rooms, 15 pediatric surgery theaters, a school for children kept from their studies, and five isolation beds for patients with blood cancers. In Jerusalem got a personal tour of the new emergency department last week, only four months after seeing it as an empty shell. Today, it is very colorful and child-friendly, and Prof. Francis Mimouni, Shaare Zedek's chief of pediatrics, selected merry, hand-painted mezuzot for the doorpost of each room. The emergency room is headed by Dr. Mati Erlichman, who was there on the day of the tour with Dr. Shimon Schwartz, both veteran Shaare Zedek pediatricians. Its nursing staff have been specially trained and work only in the emergency room, and there is always a senior pediatrician on duty until midnight. Although Jerusalem hospitals formally are on a duty roster, patients express their preferences and usually end up where they ask the ambulance drivers to take them. So Shaare Zedek's pediatric emergency room always has to be prepared for patients, with no let-up. Mimouni presented two sections - one called "blue" for routine cases and one "red," for more serious conditions. Many children are treated and sent home, even though the hospital earns more by hospitalizing young patients. But Erlichman and Mimouni noted that keeping children overnight in a hospital is scary, even potentially traumatic. Therefore, they say, It's preferable to discharge children from the emergency room, when it can be done safely, than turn them into inpatients. Within a couple of weeks, the department will be equipped with communications abilities so that doctors and nurses can view files anywhere via mobile computer devices. An outdoor playground on soft flooring will soon be built, and just inside there is a colorful hut-like structure where children will soon be able to play on computers supplied by the volunteer organization Kav-Or.