Katz Women’s Hosp delivers baby No. 1

Chantal Weinhold (l.), executive director of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, presents a gift to Flushing mom Rosa Kichikova, who gave birth to the first baby at Katz Women's Hospital. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
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In the four times Rosa Kichikova has given birth, she never mistook the hospital for a hotel.

But that almost happened the fifth time, when the Flushing mother last week became the first woman to deliver a baby at the new Katz Women’s Hospital in New Hyde Park.

Little Avital Kichikova was brought into the world at 10:24 p.m. Jan. 24, the first birth at the new hospital.

“It feels like something special,” Kichikova said. “It’s very nice here. Beautiful. It’s like a hotel. It’s very comfy here. Privacy, your own room. Your own place, your own privacy. It’s what I like.”

What gives the hospital the look of a hotel are its single-bedded rooms and amenities, such as a meditation center and a women’s garden.

“This is really what the whole new building is all about and we’re thrilled to have a new women’s hospital,” said Chantal Weinhold, executive director of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, which runs the women’s hospital. “I think what we’ve done is transformed it into looking like a hotel. We’re very proud. This is really, from our perspective, the future of health care.”

The $300 million hospital, named after donors Saul and Iris Katz, opened Jan. 23.

Saul Katz was chairman of the North Shore-LIJ board of trustees and Iris is an associate trustee.

Rosa’s husband, Ilya Kichikova, gave their child the name of Avital, which means “gift from God” in Hebrew.

As Orthodox Jews, the couple waited until the girl was born before naming her.

“We were thinking the whole night,” Rosa Kichikova said. “Usually mommies look and they know.”

Rosa said she looks forward to the day when she can tell Avital how she was the first baby born in the new hospital.

“She’s going to be excited to hear that,” Rosa said.

The Flushing couple have four other children: two boys, ages 6 and 8, and two girls, 3 1/2 and 5.

Avital was delivered by Dr. Sarah Linkie, who helped deliver babies at nearby LIJ for 17 years.

“It’s an honor and a pleasure to have delivered the first baby at Katz Women’s Hospital,” she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:43 am, February 3, 2012
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