Richie Pediatric Trauma Center
Traumatic injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in children, making immediate, life-saving medical care crucial. Northridge Hospital's Level II Pediatric Trauma Center is the only facility in the San Fernando Valley that provides immediate care to infants, children and adolescents with life-threatening traumatic injuries 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
We were also voted "Best Pediatric Care" by the readers of the Daily News.
Our Pediatric Trauma Center is just the right size for children with the technology necessary to quickly and accurately assess a child’s condition and provide immediate treatment. On arrival, children can be treated in our resuscitation suite that is outfitted with specialized technology to effectively resuscitate young patients.
What Is a “Designated” Pediatric Trauma Center?
Pediatric Trauma designation verifies that Northridge Hospital has the clinical expertise, specialty pediatric staffing and technologically-advanced equipment needed to effectively resuscitate young patients regardless of age or body size. We have expert physicians in more than 20 subspecialties, which include emergency medicine, anesthesia, orthopedics and neurosurgery.
We also house the technologically-advanced equipment needed to effectively resuscitate patients regardless of age or body size—including laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgeries, in addition to resuscitation medications that are prepackaged in accurate unit doses for pediatric use.
We house an elite team of pediatric physician specialists in more than 20 subspecialties, which include emergency medicine, anesthesia, orthopedics and neurosurgery. In addition, we have available RNs, social workers, pharmacists, registered dieticians, occupational and physical therapists, speech-language pathologists and respiratory therapists who are all specialty trained in pediatric care. We also have school liaison staff who coordinate the educational needs of children during their hospital stay.
Injuries Cared for by the Pediatric Trauma Team
- Abdominal and chest injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries to extremities
Time Is Golden
When a child is injured, our Pediatric Trauma Team immediately activates to await the patient’s arrival. Our goal is to provide medical treatment within the Platinum 30 Minutes—known as the first critical half hour when treatment increases the chance of survival. (This critical time period is 60 minutes for adults—known as the Golden Hour—but is reduced to 30 minutes for a fragile child.)
Unfortunately, children injured locally have lost their lives during transport to Pediatric Trauma Centers outside of the San Fernando Valley. The Pediatric Trauma Center is named after Richie Alarcon – the infant son of District 7 Councilmember Richard Alarcon – who was traumatically injured in a vehicle accident. Richie’s transport out of the Valley extended beyond the Platinum 30 Minutes, and he died in his father’s arms the next day.
Shortly after, Alarcon (who was then a State Senator) introduced legislation to establish funding for Northridge Hospital’s Pediatric Trauma Center. He received help to get the bill passed from Senator Alex Padilla, 20th District, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District.
A Little More “TLC”
After receiving emergent treatment in the Pediatric Trauma Center, multifaceted care continues in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Pediatrics Unit, which are staffed by pediatric surgeons and pediatric critical care specialists.
- The 14-bed PICU is certified by the California Children's Services (CCS) and provides sick children with the highest level of intensive medial care, including constant monitoring of bodily functions; specialized services for specific childhood diseases and injuries; pediatric therapies that are unavailable in other parts of the hospital; and equipment specifically for children.
- A specialist team of pediatric critical care specialists, Board-certified pediatricians, nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and dieticians is available.
- The unit is designed to comfort and delight children. The PICU features cheerful colors and diversions such as a playroom, computer games, DVD's and visits from “real-life” faeries who share stories, songs and laughter.
Because we know how important it is to be near little ones when they're sick, we also provide sleeping chairs for a parent to spend the night.
Child Life Specialist
Northridge Hospital is the only facility in the San Fernando Valley that offers a Child Life Program featuring a Child Life Specialist who educates and comforts children so they can better cope with stress, hospitalization or an upcoming procedure.
Child Life Specialists are specially trained to address each child’s specific cognitive, emotional and physical needs. They help children gain a sense of comfort and familiarity through exploration of the unit; play; art projects; therapeutic activities; self-expression; and developmentally appropriate toys for children restricted to bed. Because a child’s well-being depends on family support, Child Life Specialists also provide education and guidance to family members.
Golden Hour Guild
The Golden Hour Guild (GHG) takes its name from the term given to the critical first hour of care after a traumatic injury. The first hour can make a difference in saving lives and improving recovery. The GHG is committed to the future of trauma care, but can't carry out this life saving work alone.
With the public’s support the Guild continues to provide essential medical care in our Level II Trauma Center and Richie Pediatric Trauma Center. If you would like more information on how to help support the Trauma Center, please call the Foundation office 818-885-5341, ext. 2.