WMC Unveils The Evan Lieberman Friends And Family Lounge
A personal tragedy leads a local family to fund the construction of a "place of healing" for loved ones at WMC's Trauma ICU.
Michael Israel and Linda McGinnis with the Lieberman family.
Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, the Hudson Valley's only Level 1 trauma unit, recently unveiled The Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge, a new caregiver area in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit for families to have a place of healing and support when experiencing traumatic events. This new space was named after beloved son and brother, Evan Lieberman, 19, who passed away in Westchester Medical Center’s Trauma ICU after fighting more than 30 days for his life after sustaining severe injuries from being a passenger in a car collision.
Typically, 50 percent of patients who walk through the doors of the Trauma ICU did not plan to be there. Since trauma injuries are often unexpected, families rush to WMC to support their loved ones and typically stay in the hospital for long periods of time.
Although the care offered to Evan during his days at WMC's Trauma ICU was professional, the Lieberman family believed that the space set aside for caregivers could have been something more comforting. That is why for the past three years, the family has worked closely with the Westchester Medical Center to design The Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge.
Showers and lockers are now available for loved ones at The Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge.
The lounge offers 2,400 square feet of space—double the size of the previous waiting area—and includes showers, lockers, nutrition stations, and modest resting areas for close family members to use. Architects also fit in consultation rooms, where doctors and family members can speak privately about the status of a loved one without the entire waiting room listening in on personal information regarding a patient.
“The added space and amenities offered in the Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge will provide extra comfort for stressed and worried caregivers while aiding them in their support of their loved ones,” explained Linda McGinnis, R.N. and vice president of Patient Care Services at Westchester Medical Center, at the opening of the waiting room.
The new space and amenities were created entirely from the generous donations to “Evan’s Team,” made by the Lieberman family’s community. The name “Evan’s Team” was derived from the support system built up by Chappaqua residents to the Lieberman family.
WMC now has private resting areas for Trauma ICU families.
“The Chappaqua community was great,” says Ben Lieberman, Evan’s father. “I can’t even count how many donations: they were as small as $20 and as much as $10,000. We had these events, and people were coming over… to get to $500,000 without any over $10,000 is an awful lot of pledges.”
Michael Israel, president and CEO of Westchester Medical Center, has nothing but appreciation for Evan’s parents, Ben and Debbie Lieberman. “A lot of people in this room took a very difficult situation and turned it into something wonderful,” Israel said at the opening. “I would really like to thank from the bottom of my heart, Ben and Debbie and everyone else here for mobilizing, to do this for the Medical Center, but especially for our patients and our patients’ families.”
The Evan Lieberman Friends and Family Lounge is a tribute to all the families who spend countless hours supporting critically injured family members in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit. “This is a place of healing,” McGinnis adds. “And thanks to your generosity, Evan’s memory will live on and provide comfort and support for all other families who are experiencing traumatic events.”