A collaboration between WVU Medicine Children’s and the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine will enhance pediatric care for the region.

On Jan. 30, WVU Medicine Childrens' new Pediatric Emergency Center opened. Housed in a separate location within the WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals Main Emergency Center, the Pediatric Emergency Center features four, state-of-the-art rooms, equipped and decorated for pediatric emergency care.

The center is one of two specialized pediatric emergency care operations in the state, according to Ian B. K. Martin, MD, MBA, chair of the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine, and J. Philip Saul, MD, executive vice president, WVU Medicine Children's. Physicians, nurses, and advanced practice providers trained in the care of children presenting with emergencies staff the new center.

A search is underway for the inaugural pediatric emergency medicine division chief and pediatric emergency center medical director. This recruit will help formalize services and coordinate pediatric emergency care throughout the West Virginia University Health System, Dr. Saul said.

“We’ve always had quality emergency care, but we wanted to have an area dedicated to pediatric patients so they’re not mixed in with adult patients,” Saul said. “It’s a joint effort of WVU Medicine Children’s and the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine, which we think will not only be a great resource for families in the region but another building block in our plan to build a free-standing Children’s Hospital on campus.”

Saul said Dr. Martin, Emergency Medicine chair, has been “strongly supportive” and instrumental in the creation of the new facility.

“While the Pediatric Emergency Center finds its academic and clinical homes in the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine, this endeavor would have been nearly impossible without the help and leadership of our colleagues and friends in WVU Medicine Children’s,” Martin said.

For now, the new Pediatric Emergency Center will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; these hours coincide with the greatest demand. 

Martin said the institution hopes to extend the hours of operation as patient volumes increase.

“The goal is to have a 24-hour, 365-day, full pediatric emergency service well before a new Children’s Hospital opens,” Saul said.