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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Health care for kids

    The Diamond Children’s Medical Center, set to open in the spring of 2010, will provide southern Arizona children with a long-awaited children’s hospital.

    The center is part of a $200 million University Medical Center expansion project, said Vicki Began, vice president of Women’s and Children’s Services.

    “”We have, for a long time, been in need of a children’s hospital,”” said UMC President and CEO Greg Pivirotto. He said UMC has been working with other regional hospitals for almost ten years on plans for a joint children’s hospital.

    The $55 million plan for the new children’s addition will be funded in part by donations from local residents Donald and Jean Diamond.

    “”The Diamonds are some of Tucson’s most well-known philanthropists and have been generous for decades,”” said UMC’s major gifts officer Richelle Litteer. “”$15 million was the largest gift the Diamond family has contributed, and all the money given will go towards (the) Diamond Children’s Medical Center.””

    The Diamond family’s name was also the inspiration for the theme of both the interior and exterior of the new center, Litteer said. The design team chose a kite as the primary logo, with the slogan: “”helping dreams fly,”” she said. “”We liked the ‘diamond shape’ concept and wanted something whimsical for our theme and logo,”” Litteer said.

    The top three levels of the six-floor building will provide 100,000 square feet of individual rooms for children and their families, Litteer said.

    “”One hundred and sixteen private children rooms will occupy those top three floors,”” Began said. Individual rooms were chosen to give families privacy, access and comfort while their children are being cared for.

    The rooms will be divided into four specific areas: a neonatal intensive care unit, medical and surgical rooms, a pediatric intensive care unit and private rooms for blood and marrow transplant patients, Began said.

    “”Other space on the top three floors will include multiple playrooms, wireless internet access, library/classroom, stage and activities venue and teen activity room,”” Began said. There will also be “”world-class room service.””

    The first floors of Diamond Children’s will feature a private entrance and lobby for children and families who will also have access to the brand new 24/7 emergency department just for the children, she said.

    Began said the new facility “”aims to help staff and doctors focus in on the child and their specific needs, with separation from the general hospital.””

    Pivirotto said overcrowding was one of the many reasons that led to the creation of a children’s hospital.

    “”The type of care children are receiving in our complex now is not nearly the kind of care we would like them to have,”” Began said.

    The plan to create a new children’s facility was put in motion in 1999, Pivirotto said.

    He said the center’s close proximity to the UA is a key component of it being able to attract a world-class staff.

    “”We really want this new facility to be the best it can be,”” Pivirotto said.

    When we have all the scientists, the researchers and specialists who are already part of the UA community, the Diamond Children’s Medical Center has every potential and hope to be the best facility for children in the desert southwest, Pivirotto said.

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