Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Summerville will grow from zero pediatric emergency or urgent care units to two later this year, with both Summerville Medical Center and MUSC Children’s Hospital planning specialty facilities.
Summerville Medical Center announced in January it would build a pediatric emergency room as an adjunct to its main emergency department.
It also plans to expand a dedicated inpatient pediatric wing, building upon a temporary facility that opened last summer.
The emergency room will have dedicated pediatric ER physicians – the hospital is currently recruiting five new doctors – and both the ER and inpatient unit will have “child-friendly” art, colors and lighting.
CEO Lou Caputo said Trident Health System looked at its statistics for young visitors at its three emergency rooms and was “really taken aback by the sheer volume.”
It decided to focus its pediatric care at the Summerville location because of the area’s demographics.
“It’s a young population, a child-bearing population, so we decided we needed to really improve our pediatric service and expand our capabilities,” he said.
As a father of three himself, it’s exciting to be able to offer “a greater depth and breadth” of pediatric services, he said.
The new services should be ready in early fall, he said.
Meanwhile, MUSC Children’s Hospital is moving forward with plans to build a pediatric after-hours care center a stone’s throw away, at Ladson Road and the entrance to the Planter’s Retreat apartments.
John Sanders, the administrator of MUSC Children’s Hospital, said the site should be open within a year.
It will provide the same services as after-hours facilities in North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, he said.
Those units provide care for colds and flu, strains, sprains and fractures, simple laceration repair and foreign body removal, among other services.
Sanders said pediatricians like that the service is there for their clients nights and weekends, and the hospital is practiced at keeping the primary care doctor informed of the care it provided.
Most importantly, the hospital understands the needs of children, he said.
“Kids are not little adults. That’s all we do,” he said.
Children often react differently to illness than adults, he said. Because the hospital’s doctors and nurses work only with children, they know what to look for, he said.
The hospital recently went before the Commercial Design Review Board, which gave conditional approval for the site layout but asked the hospital to rework the building design by looking to new medical offices on Midland Parkway for guidance.