With the joining of Cornell Medical College, the New York Hospital and other institutions including the Manhattan Maternity and Dispensary and the New York Nursery and Children's Hospital, the Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Department of Pediatrics was born.
The first "pediatrics ward" was a six-bed facility stationed in the basement of the old hospital site on First Avenue and 28th Street. One professor and three assistants from Cornell Medical College would make rounds to the hospital basement and attend to the patients. A written memoir by a pediatric resident in the early 1900s recalled the pediatrics professor’s advice: "repeated warning(s) to students not to use pasteurized milk in infant feeding!"
This rudimentary pediatrics department was not at all unusual for its time. The concept of pediatrics as we know it today was just starting to come into being at the beginning of the 20th century. Medical care specifically for children before this time was very limited. The most a physician caring for children could do in an era without enforced hand-washing practices, pain medication or antibiotics was to feed the patient and hope it survived. Those doctors interested in the health of children were known as "the baby feeders”.
The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is an institution with comprehensive healthcare services, as well as affiliations with two world-class medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition, affiliations are maintained with neighboring institutions including the Hospital for Special Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University.
Our full-service, hospital-within-a-hospital hosts over 100 full-time faculty members who participate in general inpatient and subspecialty care, resident education and scientific research. Department interns and residents are essential components of our clinical care and educational program. Physicians who attend Weill Cornell Medical College learn, educate and provide care, and go forth to practice, teach and shape the future of pediatrics.
In 2017, the Department of Pediatrics again expanded its services with the opening of a second inpatient unit (Six Central) that includes single patient rooms, pediatric epilepsy monitoring beds and an area dedicated for pediatric patients with burns.
Today, the WCM Department of Pediatrics has come a long way from its nascence in the basement of the New York Hospital on 28th Street. Not only are there 14 subspecialty divisions within the department, but there are dozens of associated programs, services, clinics and outpatient care sites. The Outpatient Department, located across the street from the hospital at Helmsley Towers, sees over 11,000 patients per year. The Long Island City Community Practice and Theresa Lange Children's Center provide ambulatory care for burgeoning patient populations across the East River in the borough of Queens.
Our pediatric department provides subspecialty consultative services and facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of pediatric disorders. The department remains a leading regional referral for high-risk neonates. A 24-hour transport team of specially trained paramedics stabilize and care for infants en route to the hospital from regions that fall within a 100-mile radius of the city.
Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is staffed by a group of pediatric critical care specialists, each committed to clinical care and education, who work directly with graduate staff. The Department of Pediatrics also houses a pediatric hematology/oncology clinic and a dedicated, 24-hour pediatric emergency department.