OAKLEAF – The lights were turned on and the doors unlocked Wednesday night at the new Baptist Emergency Center at Oakleaf was open and ready to start saving lives.
The $23 million facility that will provide emergency services to 12 adults and eight children is the fourth – and most-ambitious – satellite emergency department for the hospital chain. Baptist, along with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, will be able to provide immediate care for the Oakleaf area, one of the fast-growing sectors in Clay County.
“One building: Baptist Health side for adults; Wolfson side for children,” said Baptist President and CEO Brett McClung said. “One roof, two emergency rooms. We really do want to bring our services to where the community lives. We design these for people who live, work and play right here.”
Residents can get immediate care without fighting traffic or making longer trips to hospitals. Most injuries can be treated at the emergency department, and the patient is released. In more serious cases, patients can be stabilized before being transferred to a hospital. The purpose of the satellite emergency room to is treat people in their own backyard, especially when timing is critical.
By providing emergency care for both adults and children at the same location, Baptist and Wolfson are able to share the costs.
“We saw more than 8,000 children last month in our three existing children’s centers,” said Michael Aubin, Hospital President of Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. “Kids get a lot of broken bones, but their growth plates aren’t always fixed. Our doctors only treat children.”
Hospital and government officials were at the new facility at 8355 Merchants Gate Dr. on Nov. 20 to provide tours ahead of the official opening. They huddled around a big red button and collectively pushed it to turn the lights on.
For Darin Roark, Baptist Health’s vice president of ambulatory campuses and system emergency departments, it marked the end of a whirlwind of construction that took seven months and five days – and the beginning of localized around-the-clock emergency care.
“We are going to be able to save lives here in Oakleaf,” he said. “We’re going to make a difference. We’ve come a long way. I’m really excited to open the doors.”