Midlands family’s experience helped highlight the need for pediatric emergency care
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Center celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. It is the only facility in the Midlands that is a designated Level I Trauma Center with a specific focus on pediatric emergencies and has more than 30,000 visits per year. The 13 exam rooms, pediatric resuscitation room and two trauma bays feature customized child-sized technology and equipment.
When Arney Love’s daughter, Elizabeth, was born prematurely in 1983, Love and her husband, Dan, were relieved and grateful for the expert care provided in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Richland Memorial Hospital. “I was so thankful that we had Children’s Hospital in our community and that I knew my baby was in the best place,” said Love.
On Elizabeth’s fourth birthday, the excited toddler was helping her mother get ready for her birthday party. “Elizabeth was all dressed up for an event she had attended earlier that day and she was wearing her black patent leather shoes. When I pulled down the attic stairs to get some decorations, Elizabeth begged to get her first peek inside the attic,” said Love.
In her exuberance to get up the steep steps, Elizabeth slipped and fell, breaking her arm. “It was an emergency to me and my first thought was to rush her to Children’s Hospital at Richland,” said Love. Upon arrival, Love realized that there was no separate emergency room for children. After waiting several hours in the adult emergency department, Love took her daughter to an orthopedic specialist.
That experience helped plant the seed for what became the Children’s Emergency Center at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. “Emergency rooms can be scary places and there was nothing child-friendly about the adult emergency room,” said Love. Love described their experience to her friend, Helen Lynch, who had helped plan and create South Carolina’s first dedicated children’s hospital. Lynch and Children’s Hospital leaders started immediately on plans to fund a pediatric emergency department.
“Our experience made me want a special child-friendly emergency room for all families in our community,” said Love.
“Children’s Hospital leaders, board members and community members had the foresight to recognize the need for a dedicated pediatric emergency department,” said Diane Junis, director, development, Palmetto Health Foundation. “A fundraising campaign called Bricks for Kids was launched to help raise money to make it a reality.”
Now in its 20th year, the Pediatric Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed with doctors and nurses educated, trained and certified in pediatric emergency medicine.
Child Life Specialists provide therapeutic play and help ease anxiety in a colorful family-friendly atmosphere with separate lobby and triage areas.
“Today, Elizabeth is 32 and has two children of her own,” said Love. “We are grateful that when a child needs emergency care, this level of expertise is available right here in our community.”
About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.