By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald
TEMPLE — One by one, 19 patients on the fourth floor children’s wing of the Scott & White Hospital were loaded onto ambulance stretchers.
Their destination was just under a mile away at the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White, which officially opened Tuesday.
Six-year-old Sara Adams was the first patient wheeled through the emergency room doors at the new facility. She was greeted by cheers and a teddy bear as she headed to her new room.
“It’s nice,” said Eddie Adams, of Killeen, after his daughter settled in her new room. Sara has been at Scott & White for the last month, receiving treatment for nephrotic syndrome, which affects her kidneys.
“I like the security and the staff,” Adams said. “It’s like the A-Team to me.”
The move to the $50 million hospital was orchestrated from a command center set up in the new facility’s boardroom.
“We are keeping our finger on the pulse of everything to do with the patients,” said Audrey Hubbard, director of critical care services.
As the first patients and their families entered the new hospital, Dr. John Boyd, CEO and chief medical officer, watched with a smile. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years,” he said. “It’s just an exciting, historic day for Central Texas.”
Hospital officials estimate 3,000 children will be admitted each year, and some 250,000 children will visit the hospital clinic on the 47-acre campus.
“What I most look forward to is families not having to travel so far for care,” Boyd said. “They can stay close to their loved ones and support systems. That’s the really exciting thing for us.”
To prepare the young patients for the move, Hubbard said hospital staff members briefed parents Monday and registered them for access badges. The new hospital has one entrance and everyone must have identification and access badges.
“There’s been a lot of planning and simulations to make sure all patients are moved safely and comfortably,” Hubbard said.
Last week, Temple College medical students used medical simulation mannequins to perform a dry run of the move and work out the kinks.