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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Redstone donates $35 million to Mass. General burn unit and ER

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff

Massachusetts General Hospital has received a $35 million donation for its burn unit and emergency department from media mogul Sumner Redstone, the largest single gift in the hospital's history.

Redstone, who nearly died in a 1979 Boston hotel fire and was treated for third-degree burns at Mass. General, has a long history with the hospital and has made previous donations to the burn unit. Of the current gift, $20 million will go toward research in burn and trauma care and a renovation of the unit.

Sumner Redstone (left) and Clint Eastwood, arriving at this year's Academy Awards, in February.

The hospital will use the remaining $15 million to improve access in the emergency department, which will be re-named The Sumner M. Redstone Emergency Department. Mass. General president Dr. Peter Slavin said that since many burn patients are stabilized in the emergency room, Redstone saw helping that department as a natural extension of his relationship with the burn unit.

The emergency department is struggling to care for a growing number of patients, many of whom experience long waits for care or for hospital beds. The donation will pay for various stages of expansion of the ER, including four new triage rooms that will allow doctors to evaluate patients immediately when they arrive and begin tests sooner.

The hospital also plans a significant expansion of the ER as part of a multi-million new building that it plans to complete in 2011. That renovation will add another three triage rooms, a pediatric waiting area, and increase the number of patient bays from 44 to 60, said Dr. Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services.

Redstone, 83, whose net worth is estimated at $7.5 billion by Forbes magazine, also is giving $35 million to Cedars-Sinai Prostate Cancer Center in Los Angeles and FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions in Washington, D.C.

"Advancements in research and medical science are creating a better world and a higher quality of life for all of us. Like many, I have personally benefited from these advancements," Redstone said in a statement.

Wire services contributed to this story.

Posted by Karen Weintraub at 04:44 PM
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