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ECMC breaks ground on new trauma center and emergency department

Avery Schneider

The Erie County Medical Center celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for its new state-of-the-art trauma center and emergency department. The new facility will replace its now-40-year-old predecessor when it opens in early 2020.

With dirt flying from golden shovels, work is officially getting underway on the new trauma center and emergency department at the ECMC.

Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Michael Manka said 25 years ago when he began at ECMC, the emergency department was seeing under 35,000 patients a year. Last year, it saw close to 70,000 in a space meant for no more than 45,000.


“That puts us in a difficult position as emergency providers, where we’re often trying to deliver exceptional care under conditions that are not ideal, and taking care of patients in areas where we wouldn’t want to be taken care of, such as in our back hallway,” said Manka.

He and a team came together four years ago to begin designing the new space, which will be more than doubled in size, with 54 treatment stations and 100 additional staff. Rooms will be dedicated to trauma, behavioral health, contagious disease isolation, and resuscitation.

“One of the things we’re really excited about is that we’re now going to be at ground level, and we will be able to take down that ramp…which has served us well, but has also posed a lot of challenges,” Manka said.

ECMC Board Chair Jon Dandes said the new facility will become part of ECMC’s well-established 100-year legacy.

“The universally-used crash cart was invented here by an ER nurse. Dr. John Border introduced many innovative methods in trauma care,” said Dandes. “So now we can build on that legacy of excellence, and prepare for the future of trauma and emergency care for generations and generations to come.”

The facility's $55-million price tag is being paid through a mix of bonds and donations. ECMC President Tom Quatroche said the philanthropic community really stepped up to help.

Credit Erie County Medical Center
The new emergency department's waiting room will be named the "One Buffalo Waiting Room" to recognize $1-million donations from both Pegula Sports & Entertainment and the Buffalo Bills Foundation.

“This is the first time we’ve asked for support in a very significant way, and we have raised close to $10-million for this project,” said Quatroche. “From donations of $20 to $1-million, these donors have ensured there will be more stories of hope and healing.”

Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Bills Foundation were among the $1-million donors. Quatroche announced that their donation would be recognized with the naming of the emergency department’s waiting room as the “One Buffalo Waiting Room.”

Fundraising continues, with a goal of reaching close to $20-million. The remainder of the cost is being paid for with proceeds from last year’s Erie County bond sale.

The new facility is expected to open in early 2020.

Credit Erie County Medical Center
Renderings of the new ECMC Trauma Center and Emergency Department

ECMC TC&ED Groundbreaking

Follow @SAvery131

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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