The Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center has served more than 100,000 kids since opening eight years ago.
The hospital, located in Valhalla, is one of the few tertiary hospitals located in the suburbs, according to Dr. Allen Dozor, associate physician-in-chief and chief of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and sleepmedicine at Maria Fareri.
“The Maria Fareri Children's Hospital is a very unusual place,” he said. “We’re a center for the sickest, most difficult patients from around the Hudson Valley, and we get a lot of patients transferred here from community hospitals. We’ll always be packed.”
In addition to kids from the Hudson Valley, Dozor said they also see a lot of patients from Fairfield County in Connecticut as well.
“A lot of people don’t realize they have world-class care for children right in their own backyard,” he said.
He added he thinks they see about 150 new patients a week, and treat them for a wide range of illnesses using speciality care. The hospital has the only intensive care unit designed specifically for children in the region and last year saw a special area of growth in their cancer unit, specifically bone marrow transplants. Kids go to the hospital for critical care, such as heart surgery, burn care, neurosurgery and more.
Dozor said the hospital also has an excellent pediatric sleep lab and environmental health center, which is a collaboration with its affiliated medical university, New York Medical College, including its School of Health Sciences & Practice. Not only does the center offer care for patients, but also educational programs for physicians, fellows, residents and medical students.
The hospital also acts as a residency training center.
“Tomorrow’s best pediatricians are training here today,” Dozor said.
While having a child in the hospital is obviously not an ideal situation, Dozor said they try to make the experience as welcoming to the families as possible. Each room is occupied by just one patient, and the room is equipped with pullout beds, showers and bathrooms. There are no set visiting hours, so if families want they can stay with their children 24 hours a day.
“The parents are as important as we are, and so we want them to be able to stay with their kids,” Dozor said.
This Sunday, the hospital and the Children's Hospital Foundation will host the annual Go The Distance fundraiser. It’s the hospital’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The event features a walk and a family fun day.
Dozor said the day is always a favorite for the doctors each year, as well as the kids.
“They get a kick out of seeing me on a Sunday in t-shirt and jeans,” he said.
He said the event also shows the families how much the doctors care about their patients.
“A lot of the staff are caring for the children at their sickest and most vulnerable, and when you see them running around the track, laughing and smiling it really makes it worth it,” he said.
Dozor added the fundraiser helps the hospital stay on the cutting edge of childcare, both in clinical services and emotional services the hospital can offer.
The fundraiser, which Patch is a sponsor of this year, is Sunday at 9:30 a.m., with registration starting at 8. The event takes place at the Westchester Medical Center campus, where there is a one-mile, non-competitive walk.