Caring for kids: VBMC celebrates opening of new Pediatric ER

HARLINGEN — Princesses and superheroes made their way around the East Tower lobby at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

They were there Friday to celebrate the new pediatric addition.

The Valley Baptist-Harlingen Pediatric Emergency Room is open and will be taking in patients starting Monday.

Friday marked the ribbon cutting of the Pediatric ER and included an assortment of activities for parents and children.

The lobby was dedicated as the “Kids’ Zone” where Wonder Woman and Spider Man walked around visiting with children who received face paintings and enjoyed magic and science shows.

Adults were invited to drink wine and eat hors d’ oeuvres while they browsed the new Pediatric ER created specifically with young children and families in mind.

Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist Health System, gave a speech about the importance of the new ER and introduced other speakers.

Speeches by Mayor Chris Boswell, state Rep. Eddie Lucio III and pediatrician Dr. Stanley Fisch were given.

Alan Johnson, chairman of the board, said a section like this was much needed.

“If anyone has come to Valley Baptist and seen the children trying to mix with the adults,” Johnson said. “It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.”

The pediatric emergency room’s goal is to make children more comfortable during their stay and provide a “non-threatening environment.”

Vela stressed the importance of this during the presentation as children played around the lobby.

“A lot of people would of shushed them,” Vela said. “I’m not going to shush them; I’m going to let them have a good time.”

Rooms in the Pediatric ER were painted with lilac and pastel green and the beds were topped with small stuffed animals lying on pillows.

Televisions placed in each exam room provide a distraction for children waiting to be checked out.

Construction on the renovation started toward the end of March and involved adding a 12-bed unit located next to the emergency room.

Valley Baptist has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Care Unit in Harlingen and the only Pediatric Intensive Care unit in Cameron and Willacy counties.

“The continual improvement of Valley Baptist Health care through the development of this new pediatric emergency room is an indicator of the great quality of life that we have in our community,” Boswell said.