State of Emergency

Hudson County's busiest emergency department gets a $100 million expansion—and a separate pediatric ED.

ribbon cutting ribbon cutting
ABOVE LEFT: Members of the Abercrombie Guild unveil the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department sign. (L) Teresa Saltarella, Victoria Samulski, Betty Manzetti; (R) Marianne Costello, Maryellen McLaughlin, Judie Brophy. ABOVE RIGHT: The ribbon is cut in front of the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department, the Guild’s final gift, on July 26, 2022. (L to R) Victoria Samulski, Maryellen McLaughlin (back), Betty Manzetti (in blue), Judie Brophy (in red) Teresa Saltarella, Marianne Costello.

In late July, Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC), an affiliate of RWJBarnabas Health, unveiled the much-anticipated $100 million expansion of its adult Emergency Department (ED)—already the busiest ED in Hudson County—as well as a new pediatric Emergency Department, designed to cater specifically to the emergency needs of children.

The ribbon cutting ceremony on July 26 was attended by community stakeholders as well as Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, JCMC executives and members of the Abercrombie Guild, who also proudly unveiled the dedication plaque to the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department.

The 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art expansion includes numerous upgrades, modern equipment, hybrid operating rooms that can be used for both open and minimally invasive surgery, and more room for inpatients.

The new space is not only larger, more modern, brighter and more accessible, but it improves traffic flow for visitors as well as healthcare and support staff. And, of course, it can accommodate more patients.

This is good news for area residents as, according to JCMC President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Prilutsky, even before construction of the expansion began, more than 80,000 visits were made to the hospital ED every year.

“We do expect an increased demand for our Emergency Department services as Jersey City and Hudson County continue to grow,” says Prilutsky. “The reason for doubling the size of the ED is to enable us to continue to provide safe, high-quality care and, as importantly, leveraging the state-of-the-art facility, continue to retain and attract the best healthcare professionals.”

emergency room
The Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department is not only well equipped, modern and efficient, it’s also bright, with kids’ treatment rooms and an inpatient unit that are calm and soothing and have pops of cheerful color.

An Emergency Department for Kids

As part of the expansion, JCMC has not only dramatically increased the size of the existing ED, but has opened the new Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department, part of the Children’s Health Network of RWJBarnabas Health. The new pediatric ED was made possible with the help of a generous multimillion-dollar gift from the Abercrombie Guild—its final donation.

The JCMC Emergency Department handles about 14,000 pediatric visits a year—and that number is expected to grow.

“The pediatric ED is a state-of-the-art, patient-centered facility that puts children and families at the center of care,” says JCMC Foundation Vice President Nicole Kagan. “The separate entrance insulates children from the larger volume of activity in the adult ED, so that the already stressful experience of an emergency room visit is not magnified by the sights and sounds of events in the adult ED.”

The 4,200-square-foot Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department also features:

  • A separate registration area and triage
  • A fast-track area for minor injuries and illnesses
  • An area for children who need to stay for several hours
  • A four-bed inpatient unit for children who need to stay overnight or who are to be admitted
  • A dedicated area for behavioral health assessment
  • An exterior entrance and waiting room for children and families to separate them from the commotion of the adult trauma center
  • A play area for patients and siblings

“The Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department is a gift that came about after more than a decade of active partnership, which included other philanthropic gifts to Jersey City Medical Center,” says Kagan.

There had been ongoing discussion with the Abercrombie Guild about a major gift that the Guild would consider emblematic of their long and distinguished history of serving women and children in Jersey City and Hudson County. Following years of discussion, the gift and the important project came to fruition this year.

In 2022, the pledge was signed with great pride among the members.

“The signing was an emotional event,” says Kagan. “With the remaining members of the Guild now in retirement, they had decided that it was time to dissolve the organization. After 148 years of service through several generations, this legacy gift would be a lasting reminder of the impact the Guild had through its compassionate work.”

“It is the honor and privilege of the remaining members of the Abercrombie Guild to make this our final donation and know that our legacy will live on in the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department, providing care to the youngest, most vulnerable members of our community,” says Guild Trustee Victoria Samulski.

historical picture historical picture
Top: Children relax in the sunroom at Christ Hospital under the caring and watchful eye of nurses, 1930. Above: Infants in a stroller built for 12 are attended by a Christ Hospital nurse, 1910.

The Abercrombie Guild: A History

The Abercrombie Guild began in 1874 as the Ladies’ Hospital Guild with a membership of 20 devoted women whose mission was to aid the sick at Christ Hospital in Jersey City.

The hospital was founded by Reverend Richard Mason Abercrombie and the Ladies’ Guild, like the Reverend, worked tirelessly to secure funds for the hospital’s expenses and invested money for future needs.

The women of the Ladies’ Hospital Guild took special pride in the endowment of a bed for a children’s ward at the hospital, where young children, many of them poor and vulnerable, were cared for, fed and clothed.

The endowed bed came to be known as the “Daisy Bed,” and soon, donations began coming from around the country. A unit, called the “Daisy Ward,” was established with more beds dedicated to the children.

In October 1885, the Guild, whose mission remained the same—care of the sick—became incorporated as the Abercrombie Guild, in memory of the beloved Reverend Abercrombie, who had passed away a year earlier.

The Abercrombie Guild continued to secure and safely invest funds that were bequeathed and donated, and those funds allowed the Guild to purchase much needed medical equipment for the pediatric, maternity and emergency departments at the hospital. Through the years, the Abercrombie Guild has also supported nursing education in Hudson County by providing scholarships for deserving students to earn nursing degrees and providing funds for teaching equipment.

In 2013, the Abercrombie Guild redirected its efforts and sought a new not-for-profit hospital partner, and decided to lend its support to Jersey City Medical Center with a number of donations.

The Guild contributed $25,000 to support the Women’s Health at Grove Street on Newark Avenue; $100,000 for a lactation room in the new Lord Abbett maternity wing at JCMC; and its final gift, a multimillion-dollar donation to fund the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department.

What a beautiful way to help Hudson County children and their families—and preserve the Guild’s (and Reverend Abercrombie’s) legacy for generations to come.

The Jersey City Medical Center-Abercrombie Guild Partnership: A Timeline

2013

The collaboration between JCMC and the Abercrombie Guild begins.

2015

Investment in the Women’s Health at Grove Street helps to establish a comprehensive center with services for women in Hudson County.

January 2019

$100,000 gift to name the Abercrombie Guild Lactation Room

April 2019

Lord Abbett Maternity Wing groundbreaking— private maternity suites for Hudson County

January 2020

Maternity Wing opens—more than 2,400 babies born and hundreds of mothers find comfort and privacy in the Abercrombie Guild Lactation Room.

July 2022

After 148 years of service, the Abercrombie Guild makes one final, lasting gift before dissolving the organization: the Abercrombie Guild Pediatric Emergency Department.

To learn more about emergency services and exceptional care at Jersey City Medical Center, call 201-915-2000. In case of an emergency, immediately dial 9-1-1.