Young Patients Get State-Of-The-Art "TLC" In Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's New Pediatric Emergency Facility

February 24, 1999

LOS ANGELES (February 24, 1999) -- As if a serious cut or broken bone isn't scary enough for a child, a trip to the typical emergency room can be even more frightening. Blood-soaked accident victims whiz by on gurneys. Grieving families weep and wail. The constant cry of the intercom floods the corridors. Fortunately for youngsters in Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has taken much of the trauma out of a trip to the emergency room.

A major renovation effort and a progressive approach to pediatric emergency care has resulted in some special services and surroundings for the nearly 9,000 children treated in the department each year. The difference is apparent as soon as you enter the pediatric waiting room, where all but the most critically ill or injured youngsters (and their families) wait their turns for care. The room, enlivened by storybook murals, is filled with child-friendly furnishings. Young patients can join the characters of "Alice in Wonderland" for "tea" at a hand-painted table and chairs. A television fitted in a "castle tower" provides distraction as visitors settle into heart-backed chairs and other comfortable seating. There are no disturbing overhead "pages" or announcements, thanks to a special cellular telephone system for physicians.

"We tried to develop an environment that would insulate children from the common experiences they might encounter in emergency centers that treat both children and adults," explained Joel Geiderman, M.D., FACEP, co-chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. His philosophy of "more privacy, more comfort, more dignity" for patients was the over-riding principle in the design of the waiting room, though he emphasized, "We try keep 'waiting' to a minimum."

That philosophy also carries over to the pediatric treatment area, which is situated opposite the emergency department's acute care center in the "quiet" side of the facility. There are specially designed treatment rooms for children as well as a designated trauma bay for youngsters requiring more critical care. Instead of the curtained cubicles typical of most emergency rooms, each patient room is private and has sound-proof walls, TV, telephone and accommodations for a visitor.

"Our goal was to make an unpleasant experience a more pleasant one," said Dr. Geiderman, adding that many young patients receive a teddy bear to help ease them through the experience. "Our whole set-up is far different from what patients would encounter in most emergency departments in the U.S."

As Los Angeles County's only private hospital with a designated Pediatric Critical Care Center and Level I Trauma Center, Cedars-Sinai's staff brings special expertise and understanding to their job of caring for children. While all physicians are board certified in Emergency Medicine, some hold additional board certification in Pediatrics, and nurses on staff are pediatric specialists.

Dr. Geiderman, who has been with Cedars-Sinai's Emergency Department for 20 years, is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Los Angeles Society of Emergency Medicine, American College of Physician Executives, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and American Medical Association. He is associate clinical professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Dr. Geiderman completed an internship at Northwestern University Medical School and a residency at Evanston Hospital/Northwestern University. He has lectured widely on topics relate to emergency medicine and contributed numerous articles to professional publications.
Joel Geiderman, M.D., FACEP, co-chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine


For media information and to arrange an interview, please call 1-800-396-1002.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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