Move to cut back on kid care at University Hospital a 'death blow,' docs say - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Move to cut back on kid care at University Hospital a ‘death blow,’ docs say

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By Karen Yi

There will be fewer beds for children at University Hospital in Newark if a proposal to cut back its inpatient care services goes through.

The prospect, which could take effect as early as July 1, is roiling many nurses and doctors who say transferring inpatient pediatric services from University to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, a hospital three miles away, would be detrimental to the community.

University Hospital is the only Level 1 trauma center in North Jersey and houses New Jersey Medical School’s primary teaching hospital.

“This is a death blow for our medical school’s commitment for that segment of the population’s children,” Dr. James Oleske, a professor of pediatrics, said during an often-testy Community Oversight Board meeting on Wednesday. “To abandon the Central Ward and take pediatrics away from University Hospital … I think, is a terrible mistake.”

Hospital CEO Jon Kastanis said during the meeting the move was a difficult one but necessary because of a decline in pediatric inpatients. Only three to four children require such services a day and sometimes the intensive care unit for pediatrics is closed, he said.

“We’re at an all-time low on volume,” Kastanis said. Transferring inpatient services to Newark Beth Israel, he assured, was “not a threat to this organization or community.” The Children’s Hospital of New Jersey is housed there.

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