Batson Children's Hospital today dedicated its new Colonel Harland Sanders Children's Emergency Department and the Selby and Richard McRae Children's Trauma Unit, tripling the treatment area available for the state's only Level 1 pediatric emergency and trauma center.
Partially funded by individual $1 million gifts from the Colonel Harland Sanders and the Selby and Richard McRae Foundations, construction on the $5.8 million facility began in late 2009. The 16,000 square-foot facility replaces a children's emergency room built in 1982 to handle a 15,000 per year patient volume. Currently, the children's ER sees 32,000 to 35,000 patients annually.
"This new Children's Emergency Department enables us to serve even more children in the Jackson area and throughout the state of Mississippi," said Guy Giesecke, chief executive officer of Batson Children's Hospital. "The additional space and better flow will significantly help provide better service and privacy to our patients and families, and optimally respond to major pediatric traumas as well."
Dr. Magolia Castilla, associate professor and director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, said operating in such a confined space has been a challenge for the staff. She pointed out that not only has the volume of patients steadily increased to twice the size intended for the space but also that the patients are sicker.
"There is a larger critical mass of patients coming through our doors that coincides with the children's hospital's expansion of its specialty and subspecialty programs," she said. "Being in such a small space has required us to be very efficient in everything that we do. We have to think outside of the box sometimes in order to move that volume of patients through such a small space."
The existing ER has a small waiting area, one triage room and a jumble of treatment areas scattered throughout its 5,100 square feet including one larger room divided into 4 separate patient areas and an area in an enclosed hallway with only a fabric curtain for privacy.
The new facility will have 23 treatment rooms, including several reserved for patient overflow, as well as two designated trauma areas, two waiting areas and separate rooms for family consultation, cast treatments and triage.
"Children are our focus at Batson and our staff is very excited to have this new facility for our patients and their families," Castilla said. "We want to do the best thing for our children and this is another step in that direction."