By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
TEMPLE — Scott & White officials cut the ribbon Saturday for Bell County’s first hospital for children.
A $40-million renovation transformed the former King’s Daughters Hospital into the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White. It will begin services Oct. 4, but the weekend ceremony provided a sneak peek at the state-of-the-art facility.
The 400-staff facility is expected to serve about 2,500 patients a year, with the first ones arriving in four ambulances from Scott & White Hospital on opening day.
The new children’s hospital, which will serve 32 counties, has 64 beds for full-time care and 48 beds in the neonatal intensive care unity. It also is equipped with four operating rooms and an emergency room.
But the jewel in the new facility’s crown is a $2 million computerized tomography (CT) flash scanner that creates detailed images of the internal body.
Some CT scans can take six minutes to complete, which means doctors may have to sedate children so they will remain still during the procedure. The flash scanner finishes in 0.6 seconds, and that speed also minimizes radiation exposure to children, said Craig Davis, director of diagnostic and therapeutic services at Scott & White.
“It’s like getting off a Schwinn and getting into a Ferrari,” Davis said.
Shawn Kelly, supervisor of medicine and surgery, said the flash scanner fits into the hospital’s philosophy that the treatment of children should not be invasive, and staff members should work to create the most comfortable environment possible for their young patients.
In that regard, the hospital has play rooms and facilities that allow parents to remain at their child’s side. Parents will have access to kitchens and laundry rooms, so they can stay for extended periods of time.
“They’re not just visitors, they’re part of the care team,” Kelly said.
Officials expect the children’s hospital to have a $66 million annual economic impact on the area and create 150 new jobs in Temple.