When Dr. Krishna Anchala first arrived at McMaster Children's Hospital (MCH) in 2004, she was the only practicing pediatric emergency physician in Hamilton. As a young pediatrician fresh from her training, she began her career not knowing that one day she would help change the way pediatric trauma care was delivered in the region.
"It was a really exciting opportunity for me," says Anchala, former Associate Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine (now Staff physician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto). "I found it interesting to think of ways to incorporate emergency room practices that were pediatric specific."
Anchala says patients received good care, but she was looking to establish a pediatric-specific strategy for McMaster's emergency room, and to improve emergency care for children in the region. She began advocating to the provincial trauma network in order to have MCH recognized as a pediatric trauma centre.
She also saw the need for more pediatric emergency physicians. "We didn't have enough pediatric staff in the ER, but there were many dedicated pediatricians in the hospital who would help where they could," she says. "We also had many people willing to assist in establishing a trauma team. Without their support, we wouldn't be where we are now."
In 2011, MCH became home to a fully dedicated children's-only emergency department, and in 2014 the team has grown to include close to 20 full- and part-time pediatric emergency physicians.
Anchala acknowledges there are many people who are responsible for making the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Team what it is today.
"We have had the opportunity to hire great pediatric emergency providers, and have the support of an incredible group of nurses who love working with kids," she says. "It shows how dedicated people are, and how strongly they feel about supporting and developing our pediatric emergency program."