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St. Mary Extends Emergency Pediatric Services
Care Center is moving to 24-hour schedule.

LANGHORNE, Pa., April 2, 2008 – St. Mary Medical Center today announced plans for expanded 24-hour, seven-days-a-week coverage for its Pediatric Emergency Care Center, located within the hospital’s Emergency Department. Previously, pediatric coverage in the Emergency Department was available for eight hours a day on weekdays and 12 hours each weekend day as a convenience during hours that most pediatrician offices were likely to be closed. The around-the-clock schedule will begin in April and was announced by St. Mary Chair of Emergency Medicine Dr. Gary D. Zimmer. Dr. Julio Vializ, who previously was on staff at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, will lead a dedicated team of pediatric and emergency physicians providing the 24-hour coverage.

The expanded coverage is in response to the community’s growing need for this specialized emergency service and reflects the St. Mary commitment to serving families. When St. Mary began offering its emergency pediatric services 18 months ago, it registered approximately 250 children per month, or an average of eight per day. According to Zimmer, the Emergency Department is now serving more than 650 children on a monthly basis. This is an average of more than 20 children per day. These numbers are expected to increase with the more comprehensive 24-hour schedule.

“When we began offering emergency pediatric coverage in 2006, we expected the volume of patients would grow consistent with community development. We thought that once all of our facilities were in place, keeping pace with demand would be a function of expanding hours and staff management. That is exactly what we are seeing today,” says Zimmer. “We understand that a child’s health issue can occur at any time, and caring parents don’t want to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary to have their child seen by a pediatric doctor,” notes Zimmer.

The around-the-clock schedule builds on a continuing focus at St. Mary on Emergency Department services. In 2006 as part of a $60 million capital expansion project, St. Mary opened the first and only dedicated Pediatric Emergency Care Center in Bucks County. This caring environment was specifically designed to reduce stress and reassure children and their families. The Pediatric Care Center includes a separate venue for pediatric triage and a highly qualified pediatric and emergency staff, as well as a children’s play area.

“St Mary’s Pediatric Care Center provides an exceptional service to children needing emergency care,” says Dr. Julio Vializ. “Children have unique needs when it comes to providing healthcare, and a dedicated care center can best accommodate those needs. I am pleased to be joining St. Mary as it extends emergency coverage for its young patients.”

It is estimated that 40 percent of households in the community served by St. Mary experience at least one emergency visit every year, and that nearly 60,000 patients will be treated in 2008. To meet this need, the Emergency Department at St. Mary is prepared to handle a wide range of illnesses and injuries, from the most acute to Prompt Care for non-life threatening conditions. Services include rapid response teams for heart attack and stroke, orthopedic and neurology specialists, and Bucks County’s only state-accredited Trauma Center. Specialized teams are prepared to respond immediately with around-the-clock access to surgery, digital X-ray, CT, and other emergency services.

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