Upstate News

January 6, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

University Hospital is granted state approval to open additional pediatric beds for RSV season

An urgent appeal by University Hospital has been approved by the New York state health department to open 12 new pediatric beds to care for the anticipated increase in sick children due to the onset of RSV season. RSV or respiratory syncytial virus is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children. RSV, which can cause severe or life-threatening disease in premature infants, results in over 125,000 hospitalizations each year.

The dozen new pediatric beds, which officials hope to have ready as soon as possible, will temporarily increase University Hospital’s pediatric bed capacity to 43.

Hospital officials said the state granted the increase in pediatric beds because it felt that Syracuse’s current pediatric bed census was not adequate to meet the anticipated need.

“Without these additional pediatric beds, some children would have to be sent to hospitals away from their home, causing undue anxiety and stress all around,” said Thomas Welch, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics. “One of the best ways to care for sick children is to have their moms and dads, brothers and sisters nearby. These additional beds will make that happen.”

University Hospital admits six to 10 children each week with RSV symptoms during the winter months. About half are admitted directly from a visit to the hospital emergency room. Some children, especially those with chronic conditions, may remain hospitalized for up to 10 days. Supportive care received in the hospital might include oxygen and intravenous fluids.

The health department granted the emergency approval for the temporary use of the additional pediatric beds Dec. 13. The department’s action allows the use of the beds for six months, at which time University Hospital may reapply to keep the beds open.

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