Upstate News

March 21, 2005
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Center for Children’s Surgery named for grateful patient

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – University Hospital’s Center for Children’s Surgery has been renamed in honor of a grateful patient, Olivia Louise Pietrafesa.

Robert and Daphne Pietrafesa of Cazenovia provided the naming gift for the surgery center as an expression of gratitude for the delicate, life-saving heart surgery performed on their daughter, Olivia, when she was days old. The rare open heart procedure, performed by cardiac surgeon Berkeley Brandt, M.D., corrected a heart abnormality that could have been fatal if left unchecked.

Today, Olivia Pietrafesa is a healthy, active, outgoing 16-year-old.

“Through this gift in Olivia’s name, we acknowledge the outstanding medical care children continue to receive today at University Hospital,” said Robert E. Pietrafesa II. “I know I speak for many parents who have been through an experience like ours, when I say how grateful I am that University Hospital is here in our community to care for our children.”

Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University, acknowledged the Pietrafesa family for its significant gift. “The contribution from the Pietrafesa family will help ensure that other children in need of life-saving procedures will continue to find the expertise and medical technology at University Hospital to make that happen.”

The Olivia Louise Pietrafesa Center for Children’s Surgery, as it will now be called, will be a key component of Central New York Children’s Hospital at University Hospital. The center, located on the third floor of University Hospital, provides surgical services for infants to teens with separate operating rooms, a waiting room, and pre op and recovery suites designed especially with children in mind.

The center, which opened in the summer of 2003, was one the first moves made by University Hospital to centralized its pediatric care.

Since opening, the center has seen its caseload increase by nearly 40 percent, from 2,318 pediatric surgical cases in 2003 to 3,222 in 2004.

Robert E. Pietrafesa II is president of InterV Diagnostics. His wife, Daphne, is an artist. Robert E. Pietrafesa II currently serves as president of the Health Science Center Council and has been active in various community organizations, including the Children’s Miracle Network, Syracuse Stage, Syracuse Community Health Center, Manlius Pebble Hill School and the Syracuse Film Festival.

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