Grand Strand Regional to add Pediatrics Unit

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A brand new pediatrics unit is under construction at the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. The need for a dedicated unit is growing. Right now the hospital is seeing more children patients come in, yet it is limited in what all it can do for them.

CEO Doug White tells me the uptick has been pretty dramatic-- about 10 percent more children patients over the past three years. That percentage really makes a difference behind hospital walls. Last year, a total of more than 13,000 children were taken into the emergency room for medical care. This number is more than one thousand greater than what the hospital had to handle in 2010.

Now there are new plans to help the medical center serve its younger patients. Often times children have to be moved all the way to MUSC in Charleston for medical care, but soon they'll only have to move to a different wing of the hospital. In order to handle all the new patients, WMBF News got a first look at the hospital's new pediatric unit under construction. Everything is being stripped down to create an eight bed unit and playroom for children and their families while they're being treated.

This will be a smaller specialized unit where child patients will be the doctors and nurses only focus. Right now children are sprinkled along the general medical floor with all adult patients, and CEO Doug White says this new separate and secure unit will mean better safety and care for kids.

"It's better to have a dedicated pediatric unit than it is to have a 38 bed unit where you may have a 50-year-old guy next door with pneumonia, or you may have a 45-year-old guy next door with a fractured femur," said White. "It's to have those nurses caring for exclusively pediatrics patients 24 hours a day it's just a better, safer, environment for patients."

The new pediatrics unit is expected to open its doors on March 1. The hospital is starting small with this unit, and as the number of patients continues to grow, White says there may be an opportunity to expand it.

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