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New pediatric intensive care unit opens at Advocate Children’s Hospital

pediatric ribbon photo 7 11 1 Photo by Kelly White

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new pediatric cardiac intensive care unit at Advocate Children’s Medical Center on July 2 at the hospital, 4400 W. 95th St., in Oak Lawn. On hand for the ceremony were Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury, who is holding the cut ribbon, and (from left) Oak Lawn Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th) and state Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th).

By Kelly White

Advocate Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing the utmost care to its smallest patients. As an addition to its already extensive facility, the hospital opened its doors to a new pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

“This is a professional dream to be able to care for all of these kids in one place,” said , pediatric cardiologist and medical director, cardiac neurodevelopment program at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Each one of these families becomes a part of our family.”

The new Busking Family Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) was officially unveiled at the hospital, 4400 95th St., in Oak Lawn, on the morning of July 2.

The PCICU was made possible by a donation from Pat and Joe Busking. The Buskings’ grandson, Jack, fought congenital heart disease since birth and had a heart transplant before his first birthday at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Wanting other families to have access to the level of care Jack received, the Buskings chose to support the new pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

The PCICU was designed with the purpose of family-centered care as its upmost priority, Advocate officials said.

There are 16 beds available and the private rooms encourage parent involvement, which is a massive jump from the four beds the hospital originally started out with, Van Bergen said.

“We are carrying on the same tradition with excellent care,” Van Bergen said. “We want to keep expanding and set the bar higher and higher.”

The unit’s state-of-the-art technology includes a next-generation patient monitoring platform that consolidates and analyzes patient data from multiple ICU devices onto one single screen. This technology provides actionable information to the clinical teams, prompting more informed decision-making on the patient. The addition also allotted for a conference room and private consultation room for physician and parent interactions, along with an expanded waiting room.

Advocate Children’s Heart Institute takes pride in having one of the largest pediatric cardiology programs in the Midwest. Each year an estimated 19,000 procedures are completed there, resulting in more cardiac surgeries performed there than any other program in Illinois, according to Advocate officials.

Some of the surgeries performed include open heart surgeries, cardiac catheterizations and fetal echo, electrophysiology and echocardiography procedures.

Advocate officials, along with Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury and state Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th), came together with Advocate families and friends on July 2 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new PCICU.

“I’m speechless with joy and so appreciative of the effort, the passion and the drive that went into this,” Bury said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I think of the wonderful things that will happen here, resulting in those kids going on to do wonderful things out there in the world.”

Assisting in the ribbon-cutting was Advocate patient London Kent, 4, of Mokena.

While still in the womb, London was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of congenital heart disease. The youngster underwent open heart surgery at just 3 months old to repair her heart valve.

To express their gratitude for London’s care and to give back to other families fighting congenital heart defects, just like the Busking family, the Kent family created The Kent Family Fund. Those funds allow Advocate Children’s Heart Institute to expand their family programming within the new PCICU.

“This means everything to us,” London’s father, Jacob, said. “It’s great to see the hospital’s contributions, dedication and advancement.”

“During this experience with London, we met all of these wonderful people,” London’s mother, Michelle, said. “Even when you’re going through such a terrible time and you can’t see past it, everyone was here for us, impacting our lives.”

Advocate Children’s Heart Institute is ranked 13th in the country in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery by U.S. News & World Report, and Advocate officials are proud of that fact and of the new PCICU.

“I am very proud of the effort that went in to putting this together,” said Mike Farrell, president of Advocate Children’s Hospital.

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