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Friday, Oct 2, 2020

Ballad Health strengthens regional system of pediatric care with new pediatric emergency department at Bristol Regional Medical Center

Bristol Regional Medical Center has virtually cut the ribbon and unveiled its new pediatric emergency department, a service developed in conjunction with Niswonger Children’s Hospital to serve the children of Sullivan County and Southwest Virginia.

The new J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department, which officially opened on Sept. 1, is part of a regional system of care for children, which includes pediatric surgical and Level III NICU services at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. A dedicated pediatric-trained staff at Bristol Regional and telemedicine capabilities with the children’s hospital provide increased access to specialized pediatric care. 

“Our focus is to provide the best possible pediatric care for the children of this region,” said Lisa Carter, chief executive officer of Niswonger Children’s Hospital and vice president of Ballad Health’s pediatric service line. “A pediatric emergency department ensures we have the clinical experts and appropriate equipment readily available to serve this very important patient population.”

The project is being supported through a $1.2 million gift made in honor of J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder, longtime supporters of Ballad Health hospitals and programs, as well as funding from Ballad Health.

The new J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department features a separate entrance and waiting area for families of patients, a new triage area, nurse station and four dedicated pediatric exam rooms. The new space is kid-friendly with bright colors and patterns.

“Visiting an emergency department can be an intimidating experience for children,” said Dr. Chad Couch, interim chief executive officer of Bristol Regional. “We hope offering a warm and compassionate setting designed specifically for children will help reduce anxiety for families during an already difficult time. Patients will also have access to child life specialists to support their care and promote normalcy within an unfamiliar or potentially stressful environment.”

On average, Bristol Regional treats close to 500 children in the emergency department each month.

“We are grateful to the Nicewonder family for championing this cause so generously,” Dr. Couch said. “Not only do children in our region have access to the best treatment available; they are able to receive care in a great new space designed with them in mind.”

Learn more about Ballad Health’s pediatric emergency and trauma services.