Cape hospital gets healthy donation
Construction at Cape Coral Hospital continues to expand emergency services to the community and, on Friday, the Fort Myers Track Club donated $25,000 for fully dedicated pediatric rooms.
Last year the track club donated $18,000 to the hospital to open a child-friendly examination room in the new “fast-track” emergency department.
Cape Coral Hospital has been renovating and expanding its emergency room in five separate phases for nearly a year, with the track club continuing to provide funds to make sure that two other pediatric rooms are possible.
“We have a commitment to donate $100,000 to the hospital,” said club board member Tom Murphy.
So far the club has given $43,000 to the hospital and all of the funds come as proceeds from the Cape Coral Turkey Trot, a 30-year-old 5K hosted on Thanksgiving morning. Each year the event draws in 2,000 runners and walkers, said Murphy, and funds are primarily made from entry fees and corporate sponsorships.
Hundreds of volunteers also work with the club each year to host a majority of the running events in Southwest Florida — including races for Habitat for Humanity, the Edison Festival of Lights and the Swamp Stomp.
This year the Turkey Trot raised an amount shy of $25,000 but Murphy said the club transferred some of its own money from the general fund to make up the difference and hand Cape Coral Hospital a check with an even number.
Fort Myers Track Club Vice President Candy Pemberton said it was great to be able to tell participants and the community that proceeds from the Turkey Trot directly benefited Cape Coral Hospital’s emergency department. Before that, proceeds were dispersed to a number of different sources, she said.
“When people asked where the money was going, I couldn’t say,” she said. “But now I say it proudly.”
The hospital’s first completed phase acts more like an urgent care center dealing with minor injuries. It has a dedicated pediatric room featuring toys, colorful murals on the wall and medical equipment designed specifically for children.
Two more similar pediatric rooms are planned for the second phase due to be completed in April, said Bruce Winters, construction superintendent for the Lee Memorial Health System. Ultimately, these rooms will help ease the anxiety children associate with the hospital.
“It allows physicians and nurses to work with pediatric patients,” said Doug Luckett, chief administrative officer for Cape Coral Hospital. “It helps keep them stimulated with distractions.”
Each year the emergency department treats approximately 50,000 people, said Luckett, who added that more people visit that department than any other in the hospital.
“The room makes a huge different for the little ones,” said Winters.
After construction ends on the second phase, Winters said each subsequent phase will last approximately six months and officials are hoping to conclude the entire project by the end of 2012.
Besides expanding services inside the hospital, crews are also working on updating Cape Coral Hospital’s HAZMAT facility, the only one of its kind in the five counties of Southwest Florida.