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New children’s hospital opens at Memorial Health in Savannah

Memorial Health will soon have its own freestanding children’s hospital come March 9.
Memorial Health will soon have its own freestanding children’s hospital come March 9.(WTOC)
Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:57 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a dream coming to fruition.

Memorial Health will have its own freestanding children’s hospital come Tuesday, March 9. As the Coastal Empire has grown, so has the need for a hospital dedicated to pediatric services.

In just six days the doors of the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah will open to the public. This will serve people beyond Chatham County, and it’s the first of its kind in Southeast Georgia.

Pediatric patients, families, and hospital staff will soon have a new home to call their own.

Doctors say the Children’s Hospital within Memorial Hospital has always been able to provide quality care to its pediatric patients, but having a separate space for the children is a game-changer.

The new children’s hospital is a 90,000 square foot facility with more than 50 beds, allowing for more patients.

Hospital officials expect these patients and their families to come from Chatham County, the South Carolina Lowcountry and more rural parts of Georgia, as the next closest children’s hospital is about two to three hours away.

Dr. Michael Bossak says the new facility solely focuses on taking care of children, which means everything offered at the hospital is designed with patients and their families in mind.

“Some of these patients are going to be here for, not just days, but weeks and months and years getting treatment for cancer and for chronic disease. We want them to feel like this is a homey place where they can come, they can get their care, and they can feel like this is a place where I want to be, where people are taking care of me, and where it’s fun and active,” said Dr. Bossak.

WTOC was able to get a tour of the new facility.

The hospital announced plans in 2013 and broke ground on the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah in 2016.

“We’ve always had great doctors. We’ve always had great nurses, and we finally have a facility to provide that care.”

A new home to call their own.

“Each of our units is themed after somewhere you would see in Savannah,” said Administrative Director Heather Newsome.

The Children’s Hospital of Savannah is bright, fun and it only serves pediatric patients.

“It’s not the same as taking care of adults. We really have to specialize and change the way we approach these patients,” said Dr. Bossak.

Each room is designed with a family zone, patient zone and hospital staff zone.

“We would chart our medications, all of those things happen right here.”

Everything is geared toward creating a less scary experience.

“Making this feel more like a five-star resort than a hospital,” said Physician in Chief Dr. Brad Buckler.

Sedating a child has unique challenges and this is where the Induction Rooms help.

“I can be dressed like I am today, sit right here while my child goes to sleep and once they’re asleep, they’ll be able to go back into the OR’s.”

It’s so important for young patients to move and not stay in bed, so the hospital has added kid-friendly, interactive features like dry-erase walls where kids can draw art.

Each room also has windows, which doctors say will prevent ICU psychosis, a form of delirium.

“Just letting that light filter in is just a tremendous help for patients to really feel better and feel like they’re not locked and confined into an area.”

The building is also designed to help families of patients enjoy their stay.

“Family nutrition area, where family can bring in their own food, keep it in refrigerators, and we also have a laundry room.”

Hospital officials say it’s an environment you want to come to heal and get quality health care.

“This is just exceeding everyone’s expectations.”

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