Valley Baptist-Harlingen Pediatric ER set to open

HARLINGEN – Demonstrating its commitment to providing quality and comprehensive healthcare to the community, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen’s new Pediatric Emergency Room will open to receive patients on Monday, August 7.

The new, specialized unit within Valley Baptist-Harlingen’s existing Emergency Room will feature 12 dedicated pediatric beds in a pediatric-friendly environment designed to provide a more comfortable and secure setting for pediatric patients.

“This Pediatric Emergency Room will include features designed for maximum safety and security specifically for children. Valley Baptist-Harlingen has been a leader in pediatric care in Cameron County. We have the only Pediatric ICU in the county, as well as the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and only Pediatrics Department in Harlingen,” said Valley Baptist Health System CEO Manny Vela.

Work on the Pediatric Emergency Room began in March and was celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on March 13. During the event, hospital leadership joined Valley Baptist Board of Trustees members in rolling a variety of pastel paints chosen as part of the décor for the new unit on a wall in hospital’s Emergency Room.

Vela said the new Pediatric Emergency Room will help Valley Baptist-Harlingen achieve its goal of making sure local residents do not have to leave their community to receive quality healthcare.

“One of our goals at Valley Baptist-Harlingen and Valley Baptist-Brownsville is to be differentiators in regard to the service lines that we offer. Even so, it goes deeper than that. Our goal is to offer services so that members of our community do not have to go north to receive any treatment whatsoever,” he said. “We’re chipping away at that in a very deliberate and progressive way, and this is just one more example of how we continue in Cameron County to offer an outstanding level of care to our pediatric community. The Pediatric Emergency Room is a continuation of our commitment to our youngest residents.”

Dr. David Sauceda, Chief of Pediatrics at Valley Baptist-Harlingen, said that providing a safe and separate area for children to receive emergency care demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to area children.

“Our children deserve their own space for emergency care, and we look forward to serving the community,” he said.

Dr. Betzaida Gonzalez, Valley Baptist Emergency Room Medical Director, said upgrades like the Pediatric Emergency Room show a continued focus on expanding services at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.

“This Pediatric Emergency Room is specific to the needs and concerns of children and their caretakers. Children will receive specialized attention during emergent situations that will allow parents to find comfort in the quality of the care their children are receiving,” she said. “Being able to provide these specialized services to the residents of our community shows commitment to the peace of mind and advancement of emergency care for our children.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau reports from 2016, more than 31 percent of the population in Cameron County was younger than 18 years old. Caring for such a large portion of the community is what makes the Pediatric Emergency Room project so critical to providing quality healthcare, said Alan Johnson, Valley Baptist Board of Trustees Chairman.

“This is something that has been needed for a long, long time,” he said. “We all know that we have a very young population here in the Valley, and that’s all the more reason to open this unit. This is something that we need to take care of the young people in our community.”

Once open, the Pediatric Emergency Room will add to the comprehensive pediatric care offered at Valley Baptist-Harlingen.

In addition to offering the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Harlingen, Valley Baptist-Harlingen also offers high-quality healthcare at the Matt & Patty Gorges Children’s Center.

The center, which is filled with colorful artwork and bright décor to help raise children’s spirits during their stay, also includes a 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.