SAVANNAH – 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. The facility also serves the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
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. “I am so proud of the commitment of our Memorial Health team, our community and our parent company, HCA Healthcare, to make this facility a reality.”
The completed hospital is 90,000 square feet and was built at a cost of approximately $66 million.
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 is also designed with many features to make a family’s stay more comfortable. 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 playroom for younger patients as well as a teen room equipped with TVs and video games. A large outdoor playground is available for kids once they are able to go outside.
The Children’s Hospital also has a dedicated team of certified child life specialists to support patients and families during their stay – including a resident dog.
The new facility was designed just for kids with vibrant colors throughout, starting at the Tree of Colors in the main lobby. Each clinical unit has its own color and unique theme. These colors also serve as wayfinding for the hospital.
Memorial Health provides the region’s only Level I trauma center for the most acute illness and injuries, as well as dedicated children’s, cancer and heart hospitals to serve a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina.