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WCJB TV-20: New Children's ER in Ocala

Ocala, FL - July 18, 2012

Broadcast on WCJB TV-20

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A growing number of communities are recognizing that "one size" does not fit all when it comes to medical facilities.

It can be a tough time for parents and their sick children waiting in a typical hospital emergency room.

Gainesville now has a children's hospital, and one hospital in Ocala is also working to make their young patients forget they are in a hospital at all.

From ocean water tiles to sea turtles and elephants, the new Children's Emergency Department at Munroe Regional Medical Center is almost ready to treat.

"A much better place for our children to come and receive the emergency care in a less threatening environment," Dr. Vickie Sullivan, Munroe's Director of Emergency Services told TV20.

Munroe's ER treats more patients than Shands at 100,000 people a year. Twenty-five percent of them are children.

That makes it one of the busiest emergency rooms in the state.

The new children's ER has nine treatment rooms, all with a jungle or ocean theme, a separate waiting room and staff all specially certified to treat the youngest of patients.

"A higher level of care here and actually see our children a little bit more close in proximity to the main hospital," Sullivan said.

The current childen's ER is across the street and is only open for 12 hours.

The project has been years in the making and cost $2.1 million --coming from community donations through the Munroe Foundation.

"We reached out to as many people as we could, so everybody could play a role in raising money for this wonderful project," Munroe Foundation's Executive Director, Beth McCall told TV20.

The goal was to collect the money in three years, but it only took two.

And that's something McCall says speaks to the need in Marion County for a health care facility strictly dedicated to children.

"This was a project that was greatly needed, and they stepped up to the plate," McCall said of the community.

And in a place where children usually have tears in their eyes, this new department may help them smile instead.

The new Children's Emergency Department will be fully operational Aug. 20 at 7 a.m.