CEO Anita Vaughn sits in the new waiting room of Baptist’s pediatric ER
If your child breaks an arm while playing basketball, you know you need emergency care — and fast. Now, parents with kids of all ages can bring them to the city’s newest pediatric ER at the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital. The hospital, adjacent to Baptist Women’s Hospital on Humphries, opened to the general public on January 28th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the 19,000 square-foot facility.
Caring for women and children
“When the women’s hospital opened in 2001, we knew we wanted it to serve both women and children,” says Anita Vaughn, CEO and administrator of Baptist Women’s Hospital and the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital. “We’d keep the pediatric unit on the burner and bring it up now and then. Finally, the timing was right.”
It is a logical progression for Baptist Women’s, where 5,000 babies are delivered annually. Administrators like Vaughn realized many families would likely return with their children when they needed medical care if pediatrics were offered.
The opening of the pediatric ER is just the first phase of the evolution of the children’s hospital. Several floors will eventually house 12 beds for inpatient care, outpatient surgery services, a pediatric eye center, and a pediatric intensive care unit, pending state approval.
The project was facilitated in part by a major gift from Memphians Spence and Becky Wilson. Spence Wilson, president of Kemmons Wilson Companies, is on the hospital’s board of trustees.
To determine what the hospital would look like, administrators spoke with pediatricians and parents alike asking, “What do we need to do to make this what you want?” says Vaughn. Then in 2012, they began transitioning their pediatric services from Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, purchasing small pediatric practices, and using a physician-staffing group to build up their services. “That was the easiest way to jumpstart this transition,” notes Vaughn.
Patients can enter the facility through the main rotunda or via the emergency drive-up entrance. The ER has 10 exam rooms, a pediatric diagnostics area, several operating suites, and an area for X-rays and lab work. The diagnostic space will care for their primary customers, children who struggle with respiratory ailments including asthma, RSV, the flu, and croup. Three pediatric hospitalists (pediatricians who work primarily in hospitals) will provide 24-hour care for patient’s age’s birth to 18.
The interior décor sports a nature theme, with stylized trees and a sizeable saltwater fish tank in the lobby. Vaughn also anticipates displaying some of Becky Wilson’s photography, which features animals, birds, and children from around the world.
Baptist broke ground on the pediatric emergency department in July 2013. They later hired pediatric surgeon Dr. Fawn Lewis and a pediatric anesthesiologist. A second pediatric surgeon will be recruited later this year.
Hospital administrators anticipate serving 6,000 patients in the ER this year and Vaughn expects that number to double in the next two years.