Former patients express gratitude during Baptist Women’s Hospital pediatric ED groundbreaking

A dozen years after Arianna Ervin was a patient in the newborn ICU at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, she stood in front of her family, hospital staff and other NICU patients to help announce plans to add a pediatric pavilion, including an emergency department, to the hospital.

Like the typical 12-year-old, Ervin is a Justin Bieber fan. But her first few days of life were anything but typical. She spent 111 days in the Baptist Women’s Hospital NICU. One of the first and smallest babies born at the hospital, Ervin weighed in at a mere 1 1/2 pounds. Despite her size, she was capable of pulling out her oxygen tubes, earning her the nickname “Spitfire.” On Thursday, July 11, she demonstrated that same fiery spirit as she expressed her gratitude to hospital staff and physicians and shared her excitement about the pediatric addition.

“When I first heard about Baptist Memorial Health Care considering opening [sic] emergency room for children like me, my heart jumped for joy,” said Ervin. “I felt honored that Baptist cared about me and my well-being so much that the doctors and nurses wanted to make sure that I was always OK.”

Ervin’s sentiments were echoed by Bonnie Shelby, a member of Baptist Women’s Hospital’s Pediatric and Family Advisory Council and mother to 4-year-old Georgia—who was born at the hospital and spent time in the NICU.

Anita Vaughn, administrator and CEO of Baptist Women’s Hospital, said she’s been asked if the hospital would offer pediatric services since its opening in 2001.

“Many parents and doctors have asked me over the years if we ever plan to offer pediatric services, and I am so proud and glad to be able to answer ‘Yes,’” said Vaughn. “Clearly, there is a need in the community, and we are helping to fill it.”

The new four-story pediatric pavilion will house a 17,000-square-foot ED and diagnostic area on the first floor. The other floors will be used for future growth. Baptist began transitioning its other pediatric services—inpatient and outpatient—from Baptist Memphis to the Baptist Women’s Hospital in May 2012.

“For the first time, families will be able to access the full continuum of care under one roof, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, surgery and follow-up care,” said Vaughn.

The groundbreaking took place behind the Maternity Ambulance Entrance where the new pediatric ED, slated to open in 2015, will be located.