Norwalk Hospital debuts Bauer Emergency Care Center

Norwalk Hospital’s new Emergency Department comes complete with a local touch: Its namesake and benefactors are both Wilton residents.

The Bauer Emergency Care Center, supported by a $2.5-million donation from Wiltonians George and Carol Bauer, doubles the footprint of current emergency treatment space in the hospital, and will provide Norwalk-area patients “every advantage” in life-saving medicine, the hospital says.

Newly built areas of the emergency department will open within the next few weeks, while renovated areas will open in late summer.

Speaking during a ribbon-cutting celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 13, Mr. Bauer was quick to direct the attention to everyone else who had a hand in the new emergency department — those who planned the new buildings, the design and architectural teams, the journeymen who “make plans a reality.”

“As a board member, I’ve been around here for the last several months listening especially to our young staff, to what they’ve said about these emerging structures. I’ve chosen three of the superlative phrases I’ve heard … awesome, dynamite, and it blows me away,” Mr. Bauer said.

His greatest thanks went to his wife, to whom he has been married nearly 60 years.

“About 20 years ago when we built and named the first ED, I said in some opening remarks I wanted to dedicate the new ED then to Carol Bauer,” Mr. Bauer said. “I said then, Carol was a women for all seasons, a teacher, pianist, wonderful wife and mother, an executive, at that time chairman of the board of Norwalk Hospital. She’s still all of those, as well as now an accomplished chaplain.”

“As we dedicate this new ED, the last six years of marriage and the new Bauer Emergency Care Center have been, in business terms, great joint ventures.”

The emergency care center takes up 32,000 square feet of space in the hospital, and expects to treat more than 50,000 patients every year. The old emergency department was designed to handle 25,000 patients annually.

“Walking the corridors of this institution and seeing the suffering of patients and families from so many cultures and walks of life makes me want to reach out and help in any way I can,” Ms. Bauer said when the gift was first announced in 2011.

As a keystone of public health administration in the Norwalk area, the Bauers believe the community deserves an up-to-date emergency department.

The emergency function there is just terribly important to the community,” Mr. Bauer said in 2011, “and we just feel dedicated to it.”

The new center is structured so patients are treated as soon as possible, said Emergency Department Chairman Dr. Ari Perkins, and the waiting room is designed more for family and friends than waiting patients.

A level-two trauma center, the new facility features a helipad, a five-bed triage area for patients with less severe conditions, and a pediatric treatment facility.

In addition to providing philanthropic support to the hospital, both Mr. and Ms. Bauer are longtime volunteers with the organization, having worked in and around the hospital for 35 years.

“We express deep gratitude not only for the Bauers’ generous financial gift but also for their countless hours volunteering in our organization,” said Dr. John M. Murphy, president and CEO of Western Connecticut Health Network, which includes Norwalk Hospital. “This gift is a generous continuation of the Bauers’ generous history of giving to Norwalk Hospital. All of their gifts are invaluable and greatly benefit the hospital and the patients we serve.”