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UPMC Children's Hospital Leaders Say Hospital Will Not Turn Kids Away Or Ration Care Amid Increase In Patients

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Even though UPMC Children's Hospital is setting records for the sheer volume of kids arriving at its doors, hospital leaders want to share a message with parents.

It all started with drama over the dashboard. Someone screen-captured the state's COVID-19 dashboard, showing zero pediatric ICU beds were available in Allegheny County.

The dashboard showed 10 percent availability on Friday, but UPMC Children's Hospital Director of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Dr. Raymond Pitetti says this.

"To us at Children's Hospital, it really doesn't matter what the dashboard says. We will always find an ICU bed," the doctor said.

Pitetti said the hospital is not turning kids away or rationing care. But the hospital is staying flexible.

"It's sort of a relative number because we will flex up, meaning there are other units that we can open up as a satellite ICU for instance," he said. "So while on paper it might say we have X number of beds in the ICU, we have the ability and will open up additional ICU beds."

UPMC Children's Hospital
(Photo Credit: UPMC)

The hospital just stationed a blue tent outside for COVID-19 testing, but doctors may see kids inside at some point.

"The tent is a response by us, the hospital, the Department of Pediatrics, the Emergency Department to expand our care, to be able to continue to provide care to children. So I want parents to actually be reassured by this," Dr. Pitetti said.

The hospital also opened what's called a "fast track" on the second floor this week. It will be used for kids that need to see a doctor quickly but don't have COVID-19.

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