[April 17, 2019; Philadelphia, PA] – A ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 16th celebrated the opening of Ryan Hospital’s Richard Lichter Emergency Room at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). The project was generously funded by Richard Lichter, a member of Penn Vet’s Board of Overseers, and co-chair of The Power of Penn Vet Campaign. His gift was made in memory of his beloved Golden Retriever, Cosette.
The Richard Lichter Emergency Room at Ryan Hospital more than doubles the amount of clinical space than the former emergency room, which opened in the early 1980s. The 2,000 square foot, state-of-the-art expansion includes designated areas for canine and feline patients, including species-specific oxygen cages. The Richard Lichter Emergency Room gives Penn Vet the opportunity to elevate animal care in a significant way; the previous number of patient care areas now doubles, increasing from 13 to 27. The facility also includes four additional large dog runs that provide comfort and security to patients who are being treated for the most complex cases.
“The emergency room expansion represents the first phase of a $14 million investment in our commitment to cutting-edge emergency and critical care for our patients and their families,” said Dr. Michael Mison, Ryan Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. “Mr. Lichter has a long history of saving animal lives, and supporting the welfare of companion animals throughout the Philadelphia region. On behalf of the faculty, clinical staff, nurses, and all of the Penn Vet family, we are incredibly thankful to Richard for his transformational gift.”
The need for life-saving, veterinary emergency services is growing. According to the American Pet Products Association, 86.4 million households had pets in 2018, up from 72.9 million households in 2012. As the number of companion animals grows, so does the need for progressive emergency and critical care.
Constructed over 38 years ago, Ryan Hospital was built to accommodate 19,000 animal patients annually, with 6,000 of those cases originating in the emergency service. Today, the hospital now treats more than 36,000 patients each year, with 10,000 of those cases admitted through the emergency service. To accommodate this growing demand, the hospital is undergoing a modernization plan to transform its facility into a novel, veterinary health system for the Philadelphia region. Future phases of the multi-phased project include enhancements to Cardiology, Radiology, as well as a state-of-the-art Emergency and Critical Care Center.
“Contributing to Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital was important since I have witnessed first-hand the role their veterinarians play in saving the lives of animals who come to Ryan in dire circumstances,” said Mr. Lichter. “It was natural for me to want the hospital to have the most modern and state-of-the-art emergency care facility. Through my charitable foundation, I have had the opportunity to provide care, comfort and protection for dogs in their time of maximum need.”
Veterinary technicians care for a patient in the newly renovated Richard Lichter Emergency Room.
With one of the largest emergency caseloads in the field, Ryan Hospital is home to world-class medical and critical care specialists, with extensive experience in trauma, shock, and other emergency conditions. In 2013, Ryan Hospital was the first university-based hospital designated a Level 1 Facility by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS). The designation reflects the highest level of patient care, based on specialist and technician staffing, emergency capabilities, and diagnostic capability. That same year, the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) designated Ryan Hospital a Veterinary Trauma Center reflecting the comprehensive depth of resources available to small animal patients suffering traumatic injuries.
“We are absolutely committed to helping pets and pet parents, and to building a world-leading, state-of-the-art facility for emergency and critical care,” said Dr. Oliver Garden, Chair of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine at Penn Vet. “We have a bold and innovative vision to expand Ryan Hospital. It is through the wonderful generosity of Mr. Lichter, and our other donors, that we are seeing our dreams come to fruition. These are exceptionally exciting times for Penn Vet!”