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Cape Coral Hospital pediatric wing unveiled

By Staff | Oct 17, 2009

Health officials at Cape Coral Hospital unveiled a new pediatric extension Friday afternoon.
The new wing at the hospital is an extension of the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida at Health Park Medical Center. It opens for the first time Monday morning and will be staffed by pediatric hospitalists and nurses who will rotate between locations.
“This extension at Cape Coral Hospital will be fully staffed by employees at The Children’s Hospital,” said Kathy Bridge-Liles, vice president of Women’s and Children’s Services for TCH. “That’s what makes it different from being a simply stand-alone pediatric unit. It is an actual second location.”
The extension, located on the hospital’s second floor, will open with 16 beds and the ability to expand to 24. Lee Memorial Health System invested $200,000 to renovate and construct the new unit.
Rooms are equipped with cribs and beds, flat-screen televisions and children are taken to a special treatment room across from a playroom with toys, board games and books. It serves children up to the age of 18, but in some cases will see older patients.
Diana Sutton, nursing director of Pediatrics for TCH, said the pediatric wing will deal with lower acuity patients, while the Pediatric Intensive Care and pediatric surgeons will remain at Health Park.
The TCH extension will treat common ailments like pneumonia, newborn jaundice or diarrhea.
Cape Coral Hospital’s original seven-bed pediatric unit was closed at the beginning of 2008 because it had a low volume of patients. Sutton said the health system instead wanted to focus all of its energies on creating one comprehensive pediatric center.
“They closed it because volumes weren’t really high,” she said. “We feel it was important to put all of our resources in the same place.”
The system changed its mind this year as needs changed, said Sutton.
“During the past year, we have had to send children away from Lee County for treatment because of a lack of beds at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida,” said Dr. John Iacuone, executive director of TCH. “We didn’t have a way to add beds immediately, and we wanted to meet the needs of children and families in Cape Coral.”
A gift from the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation helped open the new extension.