After years of planning and construction, the Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah opened for patients on March 9. Following a ribbon cutting ceremony, pediatric patients were transported from the former children’s hospital in the main hospital tower to the new freestanding facility.
Memorial has been home to southeast Georgia’s only children’s hospital since 1992 and plans for the stand-alone pediatric facility were announced in 2014. Construction began in earnest following Memorial’s integration into HCA Healthcare in early 2018. “It’s been a long-standing dream to build a freestanding children’s hospital on our campus,” said Shayne George, Memorial Health CEO. The completed hospital is 90,000 square feet and was built at a cost of approximately $66 million.
“The Children’s Hospital of Savannah has all of the services and technology we need to provide exceptional care for kids,” said Dr. Brad Buckler, physician in-chief. Highlights of the new facility include an 18-room emergency department with two resuscitation rooms, four operating rooms with two induction rooms where parents can stay with their child while they are put to sleep, a pediatric imaging unit with MRI and CT capabilities and sedation suites, a 14-room pediatric intensive care unit and more.
In addition to its clinical capabilities, the Children’s Hospital of Savannah is also designed with many features to make a family’s stay more comfortable. “Family-centered care is a hallmark of the care we provide at the Children’s Hospital of Savannah,” said Heather Newsome, administrative director. Each of the 50 patient rooms has a sleeping area and shower so that parents are comfortable while staying with their child. Other amenities for the family include a laundry room, kitchen area, chapel and a café. The facility has a play room for younger patients as well as a teen room equipped with TVs and video games. “One of our most special features is our resident facility dog, Penelope. She’s the newest member of our team and her job is to share some love with everyone,” said Newsome.
The new facility was designed just for kids with vibrant colors throughout, starting at the Tree of Colors in the main lobby. Our beautiful city is also reflected in the “All Things Savannah” theme, which incorporates several local areas in the design. Each clinical unit has its own color and unique Savannah theme. These colors also serve as wayfinding for the Children’s Hospital.
“The Memorial Health Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah will be a community resource for generations to come,” said George. “We look forward to providing safe, high-quality care for our patients and their families in this amazing new facility.”