The Children's Miracle Network Mediathon is coming Wednesday, December 12. It's an opportunity for you to help Bakersfield Memorial Hospital in its mission to enhance medical care for children here in the southern valley. That mission includes the creation of a hospital within a hospital, the Lauren Small Children's Medical Center.
Over the last 20 years, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, its staff, and the hundreds of people who support the hospital with their donations have built on the mission of being the premiere pediatric hospital in the southern San Joaquin Valley. And just like the tiny tots being cared for there, the Lauren Small Children's Medical Center continues to grow. To start with, money raised by the memorial hospital foundation over the next 18 months will help transform an unused courtyard into a children's garden and play area.
"This will be a healing place, but also a fun place. Just because a child is hospitalized doesn't mean they have to be bedridden," said Jon Van Boening, President and CEO of Memorial Hospital.
The children's garden is next to the pediatrics unit, which is undergoing a complete 2.5 million dollar makeover. "We're setting it up to grow," said Van Boening. "This has been a labor of love for us, to grow our children's services. To have a full hospital within a hospital for children's services has been our goal for some 20 years."
But there's more.
Now awaiting approval from the state, Memorial is poised to build an emergency room just for kids, staffed by physicians and nurses specially trained to care for kids, in a facility completely separate from the ER for adults next door.
"It will make them feel safer, a more welcoming environment and instant help from professionals for kids," said Van Boening.
Memorial's new state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care unit opened for business last April. It's the only PICU between Los Angeles and Madera.
"What it means is that really sick kids, about 80-percent of them, instead of being put in an ambulance or a helicopter and going 150 miles away, they can be treated here," said Van Boening.
A decision 20 years ago by the Children's Miracle Network to affiliate with Memorial Hospital was a spring board to the advancements we've seen at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital over the last two decades, but there is more work to be done.
"We have needs going forward. We have a five legged stool for pediatric care - the pediatric unit for kids, the NICU for preemies, the PICU, the pediatric emergency department pavilion, and the children's garden. And to support all that, the Ronald McDonald house. All that is under the umbrella of the Lauren Small Children's Medical Center," said Van Boening. "We're saving lives and people are getting care faster."
Still, there's more work to be done.
Nurses at Memorial have their wish lists and we need your help. Our Children's Miracle Network mediathon is Wednesday, December 12th, live from the Lauren Small Children's Medical Center at Memorial Hospital. We'll be accepting your pledges to CMN from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Remember, the money we raise in Kern County, stays in Kern County.
We hope to hear from you then.