VOL. 129 | NO. 126 | Monday, June 30, 2014
Baptist Hires Pediatric Surgeon for New Unit
By Don Wade
It’s difficult to imagine giving up an address that includes the words “Gulf Breeze” and a view of Pensacola Bay.
But Anita Vaughn, CEO and administrator at Baptist Women’s Hospital, managed to persuade Dr. Fawn Lewis to come to Memphis to be the hospital system’s first general pediatric surgeon.
“I couldn’t stand the sand, sun and water anymore,” Lewis said with a laugh. “But this is how excited we are about this. The project is good. The vision is good. There are good services in Memphis already, but there is a need for competition.
“The whole Baptist system did not have these services. The opportunity to come in on the ground level and build a hospital and create something is exciting.”
The pediatric addition to Baptist Women’s Hospital, on Humphreys Boulevard in East Memphis, is substantial. The new pediatric services will cover 37,000 square feet, including an 8,500-square-foot emergency room. Construction is expected to be completed in January.
A “topping out” ceremony for the new emergency department is scheduled to be held onsite Monday, June 30, at 10:30 a.m.
Vaughn says expanding pediatric services long has been viewed as a logical next step. Baptist Women’s Hospital delivers about 5,000 babies a year. Currently, Baptist Memorial Hospital’s emergency room has five pediatric exam rooms. That will expand to eight at the new facility.
Vaughn and Lewis both make clear that they won’t be attempting to compete with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in trauma care or specialties such as heart surgery and neurosurgery.
“If they come here for trauma care because we’re so close, we still stabilize” and send them to Le Bonheur, Vaughn said.
Baptist is framing what is being offered within the term “general acute pediatric services.” Minor surgeries, such as appendectomies, will be performed, and Vaughn says they are making ophthalmology an area of concentration. They’ll treat issues such as high fever, dehydration and breathing problems.
Their location should keep them busy.
“Here we are,” Vaughn said. “We’re closer to home.”
Longer term, Lewis said they plan to add specialties such as urology and gastroenterology.
The expanded pediatric services are expected to create about 20 new professional positions.