The new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit officially opened on 13 December 1988. The new unit replaced the old PICU, which could no longer accommodate patients and had reached capacity. As comparison, the new unit occupied 4,000 sq. ft. whereas the old unit was only 1,200 sq. ft.; the new unit had 13 beds, whereas the old unit only had 9. In speaking about the importance of the new, expanded unit, Dr. Cal Cameron, director of the unit, said:
“We are able to ensure safe patient care through a better facility, more bed space and new equipment […] Just as importantly, this new unit enables us to provide a kinder, more human atmosphere for children and their parents.”
Dr. Cameron also commented on how the hard work and dedication of staff made the previous conditions work:
“They had to be so flexible. Every time they were asked to take on a new responsibility, each one dug a little deeper. They made sure there were no compromises in patient care and that children in the unit were never hurt by the environment.”
The new PICU was separated into two care areas: an eight-bed unit dedicated to managing acute emergencies in medical and surgical patients, which included two sterile isolation rooms for acute burn patients with respiratory complications and patients with infectious diseases, and a five-bed unit for long term ventilator-dependent children.
Financing for the new unit was provided by the provincial government, the Variety Club of Manitoba Tent 58, and the Winnipeg Jets Goals for Kids. Together, these groups covered the $1.1 million construction cost of the unit. The Manitoba Health Services Commission financed the operating costs and the equipment costs.
During the ceremony for the official opening of the Unit, Dr. Cameron announced his retirement as director of the unit and welcomed Dr. Murray Kesselman as the new unit director, as of 1 January 1989.
For more photos of PICU, click here.