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Saving lives when minutes matter

December 19, 2019

Dr. Frank Petruzella joined Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU in July as chief, division of emergency medicine. Last year, more than 21,000 patients, a seven percent increase from the prior year, were treated through CHoR’s emergency department, the only Level 1 pediatric trauma center in the region and home to the Evans-Haynes Burn Center, a Level 1 pediatric burn center. With the opening of CHoR’s new inpatient hospital at the end of 2022, emergency and inpatient care will be consolidated in one location to improve access to care and further enhance the patient and family experience.

What attracted you to CHoR? CHoR’s leadership, plans for the new hospital and the potential for growth attracted me. I completed my residency and fellowship at large stand-alone children’s hospitals and had worked a few shifts each month at CHoR prior to joining the team in July. The emergency team is a great group of people, and I was excited about the opportunity to jump on board in a leadership role.

What are your goals for emergency medicine at CHoR? We have spectacular teaching and clinical faculty so I want to expand the department by adding more research faculty and increasing our research. Because emergency medicine touches every other specialty, our faculty has varied interests and can be studying everything from pain management to reducing radiation exposure for patients. I also want to support CHoR’s goal of becoming a top 20 children’s hospital. For emergency medicine, this means continuing to collaborate with other specialists to provide clinical excellence, support great teaching and establish a research presence.

How does being connected to an academic medical center help patients, families and your team? Faculty at academic facilities often have connections at other institutions. This allows us to collaborate with other specialists outside of CHoR on unique cases and stay updated on how medical issues and trends like the flu or the recent vaping-related illnesses are impacting kids in other areas of the country. In addition, training students, residents and other learners requires our faculty to be current on the latest treatments for children.

What excites you about the new inpatient hospital? I’m really excited for our community and for CHoR. The new hospital will allow us to have an influx of incredibly qualified specialists to supplement the incredible team we have. It also will allow us to treat more patients with a variety of diagnoses. We learn from every patient we see so more patients and diverse cases make me a better physician.

Building the best

As the only Level I pediatric trauma center in Central Virginia, CHoR’s team is prepared to handle any trauma, for any child, 24/7. Pediatric specialists from all medical disciplines are available around the clock to care for everything from broken bones to serious head and chest injuries.

Two dedicated Child Life specialists support patients and families in the emergency room to reduce stress and anxiety, which can result in the need for less medication and/or sedation during treatment.

CHoR doesn’t just care for kids at the time of a trauma: our mission is to change the culture of trauma and violence in our communities. As the lead agency for Safe Kids Virginia, we educate families and children on ways to stop the most common events we see – motor vehicle accidents, falls, burns and more.

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