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McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Newsmagazine — Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 2012

Kristina Kolodziej, Jennifer Reid and Bruce Karatzoglou participate in a simulation exercise with an infant mannequin Lourdes Hernandez with her daughter Julissa Hernandez, Michael G. DeGroote, and other patients at the Michael G. DeGroote Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children's Hospital Nurse Melanie Anderson and former patient Dylan Hierlihy at the Michael G. DeGroote Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children's Hospital

New Pediatric Intensive Care Unit opens its doors

Julissa Hernandez spent six months in the pediatric intensive care unit of McMaster Children's Hospital after she was born in August 2011 with omphalocele, a birth defect where her abdominal organs remain outside, covered with a thin layer of skin.

She also had premature lungs and bronchomalacia, weak cartilage in the walls of the bronchial tubes, in her left bronchus, resulting in breathing difficulties.

"I didn't think we would be in the hospital for as long as we were," said her mother Lourdes Hernandez. "But the doctors and nurses were good at keeping us informed and they asked us to take it one day at a time."

Julissa and her parents were at the June opening of the Michael G. DeGroote Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at McMaster Children's Hospital. The new, state-of-the-art facility was made possible through a donation by Michael G. DeGroote as part of a $105-million gift he made to McMaster University in 2003.

The new unit, featuring 12 private and spacious rooms, is focused on privacy and family-centred care. The rooms allow families to remain at the bedside of their children.

The new facility has two family lounges, an overnight family room and a private family room adjoining an intensive care room. Each of the private rooms contains articulating arms designed to house patient-care essentials, such as oxygen and ventilators.

Eight beds from the previous pediatric intensive care unit were transferred into the new space in August. The entire intensive care team received extensive and innovative education, with the assistance of high fidelity simulators, prior to patients being brought into the unit.