The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart breaks ground

This morning, Sacred Heart broke ground on its regional children’s hospital and announced the facility will be named for the Studer family.

David Sansing, chair of the board of directors for Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, emceed the event and gave a history of the children’s hospital that began in women’s dormitory of Sacred Heart’s hospital.

“Once again the phenomenal leadership here at Sacred Heart has responded to a growing community need for increased access at specialized care for women and children,” he said. ” The pediatric services provided at this hospital are vitally important to the health of the entire community.”

Sansing pointed out three features of the new hospital:

“First this new children’s hospital will add more beds. With beds, regional beds we will be able to provide care for even more children, and even more specialized care than we already do. These new beds will also create more jobs for our community, creates hundreds of new jobs for the physical recovery.

“Second, the inpatient services will be consolidated into one space which will only down-play the anxiety the parents have and the children have when they come to the hospital, but also make staff more efficient, our coordination services better and our senior staff better, which is even more important.

“Lastly and most importantly we will design first and foremost for children-everything from the limited facilities to the event calendar will be designed for children. The children will not be sharing space with the adults, and this will be a hospital just for them.”

Dr. Robert Patterson, medical director of The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, talked about the hospital’s leadership and how many healthcare system shy away from children services.

“To build a children’s hospital really requires sacrifice,” said Dr. Patterson. “There are many more lucrative and flashy things to do with, in healthcare and other choices than to care for children. Unfortunately, the children seem to be put aside in some areas of our country but that’s not true here.

“The members of the Ascension Health Group and the administration of Sacred Heart Hospital has come together with the amazing partnership of one of the greatest places on earth which is Pensacola, north west Florida and the community here and they pooled resources and made sacrifices with one goal. To do what is right and make a beautiful place for children.”

The new five-story Children’s Hospital will be constructed in south of the existing Children’s Hospital, extending from the current pediatric transport ambulance bay into the parking lot. The new building will connect to the current Children’s Hospital by a ground-level, glass-covered walkway and will include:

* Pediatric Emergency Department and Trauma Center, an expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current Pediatric Emergency Department, which is now next to the adult Emergency Department and Trauma Center. Consolidating children’s emergency and inpatient services in one building will allow for more coordinated care and shorter discharge processes for children. Sacred Heart provides the region’s only pediatric trauma referral center.

* Pediatric Surgery. With the construction of the new Children’s Hospital, Sacred Heart will add six, pediatric-dedicated operating rooms. This will consolidate all surgeries and procedures that require sedation into one area with a child-friendly environment designed to include family support, all with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety.

* Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This expansion and relocation of Sacred Heart’s current NICU beds will enable The Children’s Hospital to care for more premature and critically ill infants from across Northwest Florida. In addition to offering the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, The Children’s Hospital maintains two specially equipped neonatal critical care transport ambulances for the transfer of premature and critically ill newborns from other hospitals across Northwest Florida to The Children’s Hospital. The NICU of the new Children’s Hospital will offer private rooms in its Level III unit, which includes the most critically ill babies.

* Pediatric Oncology, with an expanded inpatient unit to provide specialized, inpatient care for children with cancer.

* Extended stay/observation beds will represent a new inpatient unit for The Children’s Hospital, caring for children who aren’t yet ready to go home.

Quint Studer told the crowd that he and Rishy were humbled when Susan Davis, CEO of Sacred Heart Health System, told them that she would like the new facility to bear their name.

“We don’t like to put names on things,” said Studer. “The new downtown Y is an exception, but we only agreed to that because other families were also named.”

He talked about the need for the children’s hospital and that raising the money for it would be a “heavy lift.” He said he hoped that the community would rally behind the effort and that other healthcare systems would help make it a reality.