Clinical Center News
Winter 2018

New pediatric observation unit enhances patient safety, care

Barbara Jordan, Krista Cato, Dr. Zena Quezado, Dr. Deborah Merke, pediatric patient Hadi and Dr. James Gilman cutting the ribbon
Barbara Jordan, Krista Cato, Dr. Zena Quezado, Dr. Deborah Merke, pediatric patient Hadi and Dr. James Gilman, NIH Clinical Center CEO, cut the ribbon on the new Pediatric Observation Unit Nov. 27.

The NIH Clinical Center leadership, staff and patients gathered to celebrate the opening of the new special pediatric observation unit in late November.

The Pediatric Observation Unit is located in 1 NW and will provide additional support for patient safety in pediatric research, said the unit's inaugural chief, Dr. Zena Quezado. Quezado is a seasoned professional in pediatric anesthesia who spent the past seven years at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She is a familiar face in the Clinical Center, serving as a fellow in the Critical Care Medicine Department and later as the chief of anesthesiology.

The unit has monitored beds that will allow for enhanced cardiopulmonary, neurologic and metabolic monitoring of pediatric patients who are in need of closer clinical observation. It is a pediatric research facility that is able to accommodate younger and sicker children, enhancing the hospital's medical and nursing staff's ability to care for more fragile pediatric patients.

Nurses Lee Ann Keener, Kelly White and Alex Classen view the features of a new pediatric bedside monitor in one of the rooms
Nurses Lee Ann Keener, Kelly White and Alex Classen view the features of a new pediatric bedside monitor in one of the rooms of the new Pediatric Observation Unit Nov. 27. The monitored beds in the new unit will allow for closer monitoring of clinical, cardiopulmonary, neurologic and metabolic parameters in pediatric patients.

Dr. Deborah Merke, a senior investigator and chief of the Pediatric Service, said, "This new initiative is the culmination of many years of hard work by many people and represents support and recognition that intervening early in life and including children in the groundbreaking research that occurs at the NIH Clinical Center is essential as we strive to enhance health, reduce illness and reduce disability."

The Clinical Center has a notable history for advancing pediatric medicine including discovering the causes of and developing the first treatments for childhood leukemia, developing early treatments for pediatric HIV and the first pediatric gene therapy for children with an inherited disorder that damages their immune system.

About 30-40% of the clinical research protocols enroll children and about 13% of patient care activities are for children and adolescents.

"As we expand our resources in pediatrics, we optimize the safety of our current patients and also open the doors to new and exciting possibilities," Merke added.

Karen Baker, Dr. Colleen Hadigan and Victoria Anderson stand in a hallway.
Dr. Daniel Kastner examining a patient at the NIH Clinical Center
A nurse provides Dr. Anthony Fauci a flu shot
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NIH staff gather at a relay race at the NIH Clinical Center
Dr. Gilman speaks at a podium
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Dr. Francis Collins, Shawn Thomas and Dr. Jim Gilman stand on stage as Thomas holds a plaque
National Symphony Orchestra performance
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Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH sties in a chair to the left. Barbra Streisand holds a microphone and sits in a chair to the right – speaks to the audience
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Jackson Taylor (right) and his donor Sean McLaughlin (left)
Dr. Thomas Burklow
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NIH employee, Ricky Day, trys the prototype device
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tours Clinical Center with CC CEO Dr. James K. Gilman
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Harold Varmus, Robert Frasca, Mark Hatfield and John Gallin at the groundbreaking of the hospital's new addition
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Jim Gilman at Town Hall in Masur Auditorium
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