Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Memorial Hospital launches major push to bring a much-needed Children's Hospital to Bakersfield

 Memorial Hospital has launched an aggressive plan to bring a children's hospital to Bakersfield, alleviating the need for countless of our ill children to be shipped to Madera or Los Angeles for treatment. This is one of those high profile campaigns you are going to hear a lot of about, and I think it's an important one to support. The idea, according to Memorial CEO Jon Van Boening, is to create a "hospital within a hospital" dedicated to kids. Bakersfield isn't big enough to justify a stand-alone children's hospital, but it certainly is big enough to have a facility here that can absorb most of the younger patients. The hospital will include:

 ... Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - This NCIU offers state of the art monitoring technology for patients who remain hospitalized for weeks or months.
 ... Expanded Pediatric In-Patient Department: Memorial will upgrade and expand the Pediatrics Dept. from 12 to 22 accute pediatric beds.
 ... Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: This PICU will be the only dedicated PICU in the southern Valley and feature eight beds for seriously ill children.
 ... Out-patient Clinis: Our area is now underserved by specialists such as Pediatric Cardiologists and Endocrinologists, meaning kids have to be flown to Los Angeles or Fresno/Madera. Specialty clinics on the Memorial campus will provide these critical services in a local setting.

 In all the children's center will have some 60 beds and the costs are estimated at around $3 million. This is a worthwhile effort, spearheaded by Van Boening and development director Sue Benham, and it deserves our support. No doubt we'll be hearing  more about this as the months go by.

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