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Bigger Alle-Kiski Medical Center emergency room debuts

| Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

Tarentum native Joseph Guyaux remembers well the first time he visited the emergency room at Alle-Kiski Medical Center, then Allegheny Valley Hospital.

It was 1967 and Guyaux was the senior quarterback of the Tarentum High School Redcats football team. He suffered a facial cut and went to the hospital to get stitches, but needed more than that..

"Dr. John Pacek noticed my hand shaking, looked at it and said, 'Joe, you've got a broken wrist,'" Guyaux said, smiling at the memory.

Guyaux, who now is president of PNC Financial Services Group, had reason to smile Thursday. He told that story just before taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a new emergency department at the hospital.

The new facility is named for Guyaux and his wife, Tarentum native Kathleen Celko Guyaux, who made the largest individual donation -- $400,000 -- to the fundraising drive for the $15.6 million emergency department.

Guyaux was impressed with the new facility.

"I think it's terrific," he said. "With the way hospitals and health are going, emergency rooms are where you need the space. We knew enough about the hospital to know how small and cramped the space was."

He said the hospital means a lot to him and his wife: His sons were born there, and just about everyone in his family received treatment there.

"My mother was actually a student nurse here," he said. "I'm pleased; but what's more important from what I've seen, the staff is really excited.

"Our sense is that the community will make use of it and for the people who need it, it will be here."

Dr. Jerry Taylor, medical director of the hospital's emergency medical department, said the department treated 80 patients a day when he came here nine years ago. That number is now more than 100.

"You can't overstate the importance of making this department as effective and efficient as possible," said Russ Evans, chairman of the hospital board.

Linda Jaskolka, hospital spokeswoman, said the new department should add to the high marks the hospital has received from Health Grades, an independent health care ratings agency.

"People are surprised that little Alle-Kiski is in the top 5 percent in the country for clinical quality excellence," Jaskolka said.

Dr. Christopher T. Olivia, president and CEO of the hospital's parent organization, the West Penn Allegheny Health System, said the new emergency room is a tangible commitment by the system to the hospital and the community, which it will continue to make.

"We provide the bricks and mortar, but at the end of the day it's the doctors and nurses that make this hospital what it is today," he said.

Taylor, discussing meeting the challenges posed by a new UPMC Urgicare facility planned nearby, summed it up another way.

"We just have to continue to be the best emergency department that we can be," he said with a smile. "We're good, fast and nice,"

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