A Community Asset That We Must Preserve

Updated: 5/9/2013

by Kathryn Bass, MD, FACS, FAAP, Director of Trauma, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo


As plans for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus continue to develop, the vision remains to be recognized as the innovator, the highest quality, highest value provider, and the regional referral center for children and women’s health care for Western New York and beyond.

The idea of building a new facility is to take what we have on Bryant Street, which is very good, and make it better for those we serve.  We are so fortunate to have the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo here. We must be committed to ensure its future and its new home.

Case in point:  On Thursday, April 18, a horrific automobile accident on the New York State Thruway tested the skill set and response of the hospital’s dedicated employees.  The incident also gave a shining example of our hospital’s importance to this community.

Sadly, the accident claimed the lives of two adults and one child.  One other adult was transported to Erie County Medical Center, and the six remaining children from the accident were transported to Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo – five by helicopter and one by ambulance.

Upon notification of the accident, the Women & Children’s Hospital trauma team was activated, resulting in the emergency room, pediatric surgery, operating room, pediatric intensive care unit and all other available physicians and nurses put on standby to respond to the situation.  Pastoral care, Child Life, and other support staff were also on hand to coordinate family and visitors as they arrived.

Multiple casualties arrived nearly simultaneously including patients ranging in age from 2 to 13.  The majority were in critical condition with their lives hanging in the balance. Seeing young children in this fragile and broken state can be difficult, yet, our staff went into action, doing what they do best everyday. Care was delivered with precision.

Thanks to the hard work of all involved, especially the surgical staff, their fellows and residents, the emergency department, the pediatric intensive care unit, and the pediatric transport team, all six children survived.

Pastoral Care received and met family arriving at the hospital, provided refreshments and continuous status updates, escorted the families through the hospital to visit with the patients, and responded to incoming phone calls from across the country and Puerto Rico.  Child life members even sat at the patients’ bedsides making sure they were not alone until family members arrived.

It was a proud moment to see the entire hospital respond with the highest levels of care and compassion.  Everyone involved did an outstanding job taking care of the injured, the families and each other.  The entire response was nothing short of inspiring.

This is what makes the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo so unique; it is also why we need to secure its future.

Additional information available: http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130418/CITYANDREGION/130419141