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WakeMed Celebrates 10 Years of Caring in the Children's Emergency Department
07/12/2007
WakeMed Celebrates 10 Years of Caring in the Children’s Emergency Department

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 12, 2007) – Today, WakeMed Health & Hospitals celebrated 10 years of caring for kids in North Carolina’s first freestanding Children’s Emergency Department.

Since the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department grand opening in summer 1997, the department has served tens of thousands of North Carolina’s youngest patients. When it opened, the Children’s Emergency Department was the only freestanding emergency department from Atlanta to Washington DC dedicated solely to caring for children ages 0 to 17 years.

“The WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department is a great asset to the community,” commented Jerry Bernstein, MD, pediatrician with Raleigh Pediatric Associates who took a leadership role in the creation of the Children’s Emergency Department. “Prior to the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department there was a gap in children’s health care that needed to be filled. Children were receiving emergency care in the Adult Emergency Department, which can be a very scary place especially for children. The Children’s Emergency Department brings together the best environment, the right equipment and specially trained staff to provide children with the absolute best care possible.”

Dr. Bernstein and the recently-deceased emergency department physician Marilyn Hicks were the doctors who jointly spearheaded the project with the support from hospital and emergency department administration. The 10-year milestone was observed today by dedicating a nursing station as the “Dr. Marilyn Hicks Kids Care Area.” Wake Emergency Physicians that staff WakeMed’s emergency department and employed Dr. Hicks donated the money for the naming rights through the WakeMed Foundation.

In 2006, the department logged more than 42,500 visits, including 6,534 respiratory complaints; 7,332 cases of fever; 5,244 sprains, strains and fractures; and 5,480 stomach aches, nausea and/or abdominal pain.

The department opened with 9,905 square feet, 14 treatment rooms, a waiting room with kid-sized furniture, a sibling room, a private consultation room and two X-ray rooms featuring glow-in-the-dark underwater and solar system scenes. In 2003, the department was expanded to 22 treatment rooms.

Other kid-friendly features include; physicians and staff specially trained in both emergency medicine and pediatrics; Child Life Specialists to calm children during treatment; the “Breezeway” – a breathing treatment room for asthmatics, featuring movies on a large screen; private treatment rooms decorated by kids for kids – all with kid-size equipment, televisions and videos; and a sibling playroom.