Komansky Center for Children's Health Celebrates a Quarter Century of Pediatric Advancements

Light Up a Life Pediatric Benefit Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Oct 17, 2014


For the past 25 years, Light Up a Life, the annual family event benefitting the Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, has raised funds to support a number of pediatric patient care programs. The event has helped support a number of advancements in research, patient care and family support.

The study and practice of pediatric medicine has seen a number of dramatic changes over the past quarter century – from the use of iPads at the bedside, to emphasizing family involvement in patient care and recovery, to the emergence of online medical records. In honor of the event’s 25th anniversary, taking place on Saturday, October 18, pediatric experts at the Komansky Center have come together to create a list comparing pediatrics then and now to show how far we have come in the fields of technology, patient care and physician training.



25 years ago, the only computers at the hospital were found in labs. Doctors seeking information on illnesses, symptoms and treatments would have to search the library, which often took time to navigate and held somewhat outdated information.

MRI machines were scarce, and there was no known approach to treating concussions or headaches.


The emergence of the personal computer and hand-held devices over the past quarter century has transformed the way doctors are able to diagnose and treat patients. Routine blood test results can be retrieved almost immediately at the bedside, X-ray results are delivered electronically, the emergence of online medical records has transformed the way patient history is tracked and the internet can be used to quickly and efficiently find the latest information on medical studies and findings.

Advances in MRI technology have made it possible to look at the brain and abdomen in ways that were inconceivable in the 1980s. Children can use apps to send information on the time and severity of their headaches in real time to their doctors. Pediatric concussion hotlines also expedite the diagnosis process.

Patient care and safety:


Medical staff treated the illness first. Pain management and emotional care took a backseat to treatment of the patient’s medical issues.

Visiting hours for families were very limited, especially in the ICU. Parental involvement in patient care and treatment was almost non-existent, and it was very uncommon for parents to spend the night at the hospital.


Emotional care is one of the most important aspects of treatment at the Komansky Center. There is an increased emphasis placed on pain management and ensuring maximum comfort for patients and their families. Physicians and nurses now act as patient advocates – answering questions and alleviating fears. The hospital’s Child Life Services program, dedicated to alleviating children’s fears surrounding the hospital experience, is funded by the Light Up a Life benefit.

Parents are encouraged to become an integral part of the health care team, and are kept aware of diagnoses and treatments every step of the way. Doctors and health care professionals are more accessible to families with emergence of 24-hour telephone hotlines and email. The Komansky Center’s Family Advisory Council, a group of dedicated family members committed to providing exceptional, family-centered care to all patients, is supported by proceeds from Light Up a Life.



Most training was done by working directly with patients using the "see one, do one, teach one" method. With no additional options for training, junior residents trained at the bedside by treating patients and learning through experience.


Over the last five years, simulations have been widely used to increase the skill and confidence of new doctors, leading to better patient treatment. Komansky Center pediatricians go through in-depth simulation training to properly prepare for direct patient interactions.

The Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

The Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College, provides the best available care in every area of pediatrics in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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