Taking a child to the emergency room is many parents’ worst fear. Soon children and families will have a more comfortable experience when they go to the ER at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria as the hospital builds an ER just for kids.
Already, hospital staff says the Emergency Room at Marian is the busiest on the Central Coast.
Close to 80,000 patients were seen in this ER last year. 30 to 40 percent of those patients were kids.
For Santa Maria resident Kim Kapsh’s four-year-old grandson, visiting the ER at Marian was a tearful experience.
“He was screaming, crying, didn’t know the other adults, didn’t know why they were in there with him,” Kapsh said.
Right now, when families visit the ER they have to pack in with everyone else. Soon that will be changing as the hospital plans to begin construction on its pediatric ER next year.
“Having a pediatric designated emergency department will allow for us to care for them in a safe and inviting environment, where we have trained skilled physicians and nurses and healthcare professionals that are dedicated to the pediatric population,” said Candice Monge, Chief Nurse Executive Officer at Marian Regional Medical Center.
This expansion is a part of a multi-tiered project that includes more adult rooms and eventually a pediatric intensive care unit.
“We have a plan for the future, the not too distant future, to start a pediatric ICU here, but until we do that, we have to transfer out some of the sicker children to an intensive care unit,” said Dr. Chuck Merrill, Chief Medical Officer.
Having a space just for kids is great news for local families who might have had to go elsewhere for their healthcare needs.
“It would make my grandson relax, and I’m sure no matter how sick a child is if there’s another child there, he’ll want to mingle with another child,” Kapsh said.
“That way it’s not such a scary experience for them and they’re not terrified going in to see a doctor,” Lucero Sandoval, a Santa Maria mom said.
This part of the expansion is not underway just yet. Hospital staff members say they plan on completing the 10 new rooms for adults that are currently under construction before they have to temporarily stop working on the hospital due to flu season.
The pediatric ER wing will be named after donors from Rancho Guadalupe, a Santa Maria-based business that donated $500,000 towards the project.