Former Gov. Mario Cuomo returned to Schneider Children’s Hospital last week — 25 years after he helped cut the ribbon on the facility — to break ground on a new pediatric treatment center and celebrate the hospital’s quarter−century of existence.
“The Schneider Children’s Hospital was a giant step forward at that point,” said Cuomo, a Queens native, as he reflected on the Sept. 23, 1983, opening of the New Hyde Park, L.I., hospital, noting that “pediatric medicine was struggling” and there was no “extensive focus on children” by hospitals in the area at the time.
Since then, Cuomo said, Schneider “is functioning now ... at a level far above most health care institutions in this country.”
The North Shore−Long Island Jewish Health System, which includes Schneider, broke ground last Thursday on the 100,000−square−foot, $132 million Blumenfeld Center for Pediatric Medicine.
“This will enable us to treat the sickest of children in a state−of−the−art, world−class facility,” said Dr. Philip Lanzkowsky, executive director at Schneider since the hospital opened.
“We are well on our way to becoming a world−class institution,” he said.
The four−story center is expected to be completed in 2011 and will house a pediatric emergency center — the first of its kind in the region — imaging center, intensive care unit and medical−surgical unit.
Construction of the center was funded through donations, including a generous amount from Long Island developer Ed Blumenthal; his wife, Susan; and their children, Brad and David .
The couple have long been benefactors of the hospital.
“When we became involved in this dream, there was no children’s hospital in the area,” Ed Blumenthal said. “We found that unacceptable.”
Cuomo was joined by Donna and David Edlinger, siblings who were treated for leukemia at Schneider and were selected to help the then−governor cut the ribbon on the hospital.
“As I look back, I can’t imagine what the outcome had been if Schneider Children’s Hospital had not been built,” said their mother, Rosalie Edlinger.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz
©2008 Community News Group
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