MANHATTAN — Bryan Stromer, a 17-year-old Upper East Sider with cerebral palsy, has been receiving treatment at the Hospital for Special Surgery for more than a decade.
Stromer, who is now the student representative on the city’s Council on Special Education and has been a staunch advocate at City Hall meetings for greater accessibility for children with disabilities, credited his doctors and rehab therapists at HSS not only for helping with his musculoskeletal condition, but also with boosting his confidence to help him develop as a leader.
That’s why he was one of several young patients last week proud to lead tours giving a sneak peak of HSS’s new $24 million Lerner Children’s Pavilion, set to open Oct. 25 and designed to make the hospital’s care for children and their fast-growing bones even more family-friendly by concentrating everything on one floor.
“Major strides have been made in pediatric orthopedic medicine over the past several decades, and our team has been at the forefront of providing life changing treatments,” said Dr. Roger Widmann, chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery at HSS, who will lead a staff of nine pediatric surgeons at the space.
“The new pavilion will allow our team to do what we do the best with more efficiency and in a more family-centric way," he added.
Officials likened the 31,000-square-foot space within in HSS’s main building at 535 East 70th St. to a “hospital within a hospital.”
The pavilion has 10 new private patient rooms — with great East River views — furnished specifically for pediatric musculoskeletal patients and their families, plus “orthopedically safe” play areas for all, including siblings. There’s pediatric gym, colorful exam and treatment rooms and a nursing station with a direct view of every patient’s room.
Besides the pediatric surgeons, there are also three pediatric rheumatologists, three pediatricians, five pediatric anesthesiologists, 42 nurses trained in pediatrics and 19 pediatric rehabilitation therapists.
HSS, which was rated the nation's No. 1 hospital for orthopedics in U.S. News and World Report, treated roughly 20,000 pediatric patients and performed more than 2,600 pediatric surgeries last year, officials said. They’re working with a range of patients, from kids who tear knee ligaments playing sports to those who have scoliosis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
The pavilion’s renovation comes on the heels of last year’s opening of a 7,000-square-foot CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center for children, which opened in the same building last fall.
HSS is also gearing up to build a 207,000-square-foot, 13-story ambulatory care facility a few blocks away on East 73rd Street to free up ambulatory operating rooms in the main building to accommodate more serious in-patient procedures.