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Two Northwest Florida hospitals add pediatric care to their facilities

Ascension Sacred Heart Bay at Panama City Beach has added a pediatric emergency services clinic. The facility is the Studer Family Children's Hospital's fourth pediatric emergency room department in Northwest Florida. The pediatric ER is equipped and staffed to care for some 3,000 children annually and includes three treatment rooms with equipment specially designed for diagnosing and treating medical emergencies. “As part of our expansion of pediatric services in Bay County, our staff has received extensive training from Studer Family Children’s Hospital in Pensacola for the past year on emergency pediatric protocols, including simulations for common pediatric emergencies like drowning,” says Robin Godwin, president of Ascension Sacred Heart Bay.

HCA Capital Florida Hospital in Tallahassee, formerly known as Capital Regional Medical Center, has added a $5-million, 10-bed unit that expands the hospital's ability to provide intensive care for sick and premature infants. HCA’s new unit will care for infants born as early as 10 weeks premature, are underweight, need respiratory aid or need treatment for low blood sugar. "This is huge for our community," says Emily Beale, director of women’s and children’s services at the hospital. The new unit will serve patients in the Northwest Florida and Big Bend areas. Beale says the neonatal intensive care unit is staffed by neonatologists, pediatricians and registered nurses who specialize in sick and premature infants. Additionally, specially trained pharmacists, dietitians and respiratory therapists also will be part of the unit’s support team.