SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release) — ny injury or illness that sends a family to the emergency room (ER) with a child is scary enough, but what they encounter inside can add to the anxiety.
â€œWe have a wide variety of patients come through our doors in need of help â€“ from those who are suffering from serious illness, injured in accidents, victims of violence or suffering from the complications of mental health disorders or substance abuse,â€ said Dr. Mark Griesemer, ER medical director at Mercy Hospital Springfield. â€œIt can be scary and overwhelming for a child, especially when they have their own health concern.â€
Soon, local kids will have their own emergency room, dedicated to serving them and staffed with pediatric specialists. Mercy Kids patients joined in a ceremonial dirt turn to break ground on the $7.5 million, 6,300-square-foot Mercy Kids Emergency Room. The Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, the seventh Bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, presided over the blessing. When complete in early 2021, the new ER will give kids and their families a child-friendly space, including a separate triage area and waiting room.
â€œThis ER will be heaven sent,â€ said Brian Hayes, whose son, Brian, Jr., participated in the groundbreaking and has a disorder that causes severe bone pain. â€œItâ€™s the most gut-wrenching thing to see your child in pain and not be able to do anything about it. Itâ€™s imperative to see a specialist who can help resolve the issue quickly.â€
The project is possible thanks entirely to the generosity of donors. In 2018, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation Inc., of Tulsa, Oklahoma, pledged $1.5 million to Mercy Kids in Springfield if the community could raise $2.8 million. A number of generous gifts combined to hit that mark and surpass it to pay for the project.
â€œThis is an example of the blessings that can come from a lot of people working together with our childrenâ€™s health in mind,â€ said Renee Paulsell, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation Springfield. â€œThis addition will be built with love, because it comes from so many with generous hearts.â€
When itâ€™s complete, children will feel the difference. â€œThis space is designed to be as comforting and low-key as possible,â€ said Dr. John Burson, Mercy pediatrician and vice president of Mercy Kids. â€œWe see kids who have everything from traumatic brain injuries to burns and broken bones. Thatâ€™s scary – so giving them their own, peaceful area will help.â€
The new Mercy Kids ER will be added onto the front entrance of the existing ER, along National Street in Springfield. It will add 11 exam rooms, with two specially-designed rooms for children who come in with mental health needs. Another feature is the â€œsensory room.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve designed that room with soothing sounds and colors to keep kids calm,â€ said Aaron Carlson, vice president of Mercy Kids. â€œWe think that will be particularly beneficial for children who have conditions like autism or anxiety.â€
Mercy Kids in Springfield has the largest array of pediatric subspecialists in the region, including everything from pediatric neurosurgery to hematology and oncology, endocrinology and much more. â€œThe Mercy Kids ER will be another open door to quickly get that specialty care to children in our community,â€ Dr. Burson said. â€œWeâ€™ve seen how miraculously children can recover when they receive the proper care right away. We canâ€™t wait to see how many more kids will benefit.â€
Mercy Health Foundation Springfield continues to raise funds to finish other Mercy Kids projects, including an upgraded pediatric intensive care unit. If youâ€™re interested in donating, please call 417-820-6111.