Baptist Memorial Health Care to use major gift to grow services at new pediatric ER

Baptist Memorial Health Care will use a substantial donation from Spence and Becky Wilson to purchase equipment to grow its general surgery and orthopedic services at the new pediatric hospital located adjacent to the Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women in East Memphis. In their honor, the hospital will be named the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children's Hospital.
"We've delivered about 5,000 children per year for the past 14 years and Baptist has been in the pediatric business for 102 years, so it was time to put to put a spotlight on it and really provide a much-needed service on our campus," says Anita Vaughn, CEO and Administrator of Baptist Women's Hospital.
Baptist began transitioning pediatric services in May 2012 from its flagship hospital, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, to the pediatric facility next door. Baptist broke ground on the pediatric emergency department in July 2013, and it will open as scheduled on January 28 of next year. Cost of the project, which includes the ER, a diagnostic area, an MRI and the building's second-story shell, is estimated at $14.5 million.
"Hopefully we will move the pediatric inpatient unit over to the upper floors from the Women's Hospital in 18 months or so," Vaughn says.
The Wilsons' gift will also help the hospital continue to hire additional specialists trained in pediatric care. In the past few months, Baptist added pediatric surgeon Dr. Fawn Lewis and pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Martine Denn to its roster of subspecialists, all of whom will work exclusively in the new children's hospital.
Vaughn expects to hire more physicians as demand increases next year.
The children’s hospital also will house a pediatric eye center, the only clinic in the Mid-South to offer the full continuum of eye care from diagnosis to treatment to surgery to follow-up. Previously, patients in need had to travel several hours for specialized pediatric eye care.
"Our vision is to have pediatric ICU, but that would be further out and it would require a certificate of need [which cannot be filed until the hospital is open for one year]," Vaughn explains.
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Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.

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