A trip to the emergency room can be scary for a child. But Mercy Springfield hopes to make that experience easier by building a new ER just for kids.
The 6300-square-foot Mercy Kids Emergency Room will be staffed with pediatric specialists. It will be added onto the front entrance of the existing ER along National Street.
Dr. Mark Griesemer, Mercy ER medical director, said many emergency rooms are not designed to be inviting to young people, and this one will be.
"This provides the ability to provide excellent pediatric care to our community but also in a way that's comforting and inviting and less scary for our pediatric patients," said Griesemer.
The goal is to make the experience easier for kids who have to visit the ER, according to Dr. John Burson, pediatrician and vice-president of Mercy Kids.
"We're trying our best to get the word 'scary' out of care for children in the hospital," said Burson. "We'd like to make this trip as pleasant as possible in such stressful situations."
Brent Hubbard, hospital president for Mercy Springfield, called the future ER, “a sacred place for our children—a healing environment for our children to receive care.”
The Mercy Kids Emergency Room will have 11 exam rooms, with two designed for children with mental health needs. One room will have soothing sounds and colors for kids who have anxiety disorders or are on the autism spectrum.
The $7.5 million project is funded entirely by donations. In 2018, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma pledged $1.5 million to Mercy Kids if the community could raise $2.8 million. Springfield donors surpassed that amount. “This is an example of the blessings that can come from a lot of people working together with our children’s health in mind,” said Renee Paulsell, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation Springfield.
The Mercy Kids Emergency Room is expected to open in early 2021.