St. David's Children's Hospital opens at medical center in North Austin

Emergency department designed to be inviting for children

The 24-bed St. David's Children's Hospital, located in a wing at St. David's North Austin Medical Center, opened Dec. 3.

The pediatrics wing, located at the south entrance of the hospital at 12221 N. MoPac, offers emergency, inpatient and intensive-care services for children age 17 and younger. The emergency department includes 10 beds with another eight beds in the inpatient medical surgical unit. Six beds are reserved for the pediatric intensive-care unit.

"While we have already been providing high-quality care to the most fragile babies in our 57-bed neonatal intensive care unit, the addition of St. David's Children's Hospital allows us to now provide a continuum [of care for people of all ages]," St. David's NAMC CEO Allen Harrison said.

Since 1995 more than 50,000 babies have been delivered at St. David's NAMC, he said.

Construction of the 35,000-square-foot facility began in March. The space was previously used for offices and labor delivery services. The children's hospital also has a trauma room and a pediatrics operating room. Other services include pediatrics anesthesia as needed for surgery and consulting as well as treatment services such as cardiology, orthopedics, neurology and urology.

Misty Rowlinson, nursing director of St. David's pediatric program, said the wing has an inviting atmosphere for children and families. The radiology and CT scan rooms were designed in underwater and adventure themes intended to make children feel more comfortable.

Dr. Brian Skrainka, pediatric emergency department director at St. David's NAMC, said he wants the hospital to be a friendly and pain-free environment for children.

"Until now families in North Austin really didn't have a lot of options for emergency child care," Skrainka said. "In an emergency, time is critical. Knowing where to take your child is very important. Now we have an option. We have a place for our parents and our EMS providers to come to a hospital that is dedicated for children."

St. David's solicited input from about 150 parents in the surrounding area during the planning of the facility. Parents were asked to provide comments and rank facility names suggested by St. David's, said David Huffstutler, president and CEO of St. David's HealthCare.

Harrison said feedback from parents was crucial to choosing the name.

"We had considered a handful of different possibilities when we named this [facility]," he said. "It was important to us that we get it right so that parents and their children would understand what the alternatives were and what we were providing."

By Lyndsey Taylor
After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lyndsey began working as a reporter for the Northwest Austin edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2012. During her time as a reporter, she has covered Round Rock ISD, health care in the Austin metro area and Austin Community College. She was promoted to editor of the Cedar Park| Leander edition in 2015 and covers city and education news, including Leander ISD.


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