This hospital saved her 7-month-old's life. Now, an expansion could help save many more.

Posted at 8:56 PM, Mar 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-28 21:00:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- On a stage that included the Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond, it was a local mother who best distilled the life-saving work soon underway at what will be Richmond’s first, stand-alone children’s hospital.

Anna Barglof’s seven-month-old son went to the doctor last year with a bad case of RSV and began having seizures, with no prior medical conditions. Their family was med-flighted to VCU Medical Center and eventually received a month's worth of treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

“I can now say Carson is a happy, healthy and wild 19-month-old toddler,” Barglof said. “While Carson’s story is a huge part of our life and ingrained in us forever, in the scheme of this Children's Hospital, Carson's story is just a fraction of the impact that it's going to have.”

The new Children’s Tower was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning, with Governor Glen Youngkin, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, VCU President Michael Rao, and the dignitaries in attendance.

The tower was constructed behind and onto the already existing Children’s Pavilion, which takes up the entire city block between 10th and 11th street just off East Broad Street. The new combined facility will soon be home to nearly 1 million square feet of healthcare space dedicated to kids throughout Central Virginia.

The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU will house the region's only Level 1 pediatric trauma center, caring for children with traumatic and emergent injuries and illnesses.

“It is many things, but it is all private rooms; it is a helipad, a level one pediatric trauma center, the region's only emergency department with 24/7 access to any specialist a child might need,” said Jeniece Roane, VP of Operations CHoR at VCU “An entire city block might sound intimidating, but accessing the highest level of pediatric care in our region has never been easier.”

The state-of-the-art pediatric emergency room will soon stand on its own, unlike the current setup at VCU Medical Center where children and adults are taken to the same ER. Hospital leaders said the ER is an example of the thoughtful design of the building, with the Emergency Department rooms and CT facilities directly adjacent.

“It’s really a symbol of bringing all of the expertise around the child and the family in an integrated way,” said Dr. Shari Barkin, Physician in Chief at CHoR.

The facility was designed with natural light and color in mind, to promote healing and an inviting, playful atmosphere for children and their families.

“By creating this sort of resource we are attending to the full needs of children and families,” Dr. Barkin said. “The artwork and the colors, making joyful, making it playful, allowing kids to be kids even in the circumstance of illness.”

Doctors nurses and staff will spend the next few weeks “stress testing” the facility before patients arrive on April 30.

“We have developed multiple scenarios that are common, this is called day in the life, and we take you through start to finish. Here’s a situation for this child: this what the team will need to do; this is how the building would need to respond.”

You can learn more about the project and the resources available at the facility here.

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