Pediatric Intensive Care Unit opens at Brandon Regional
BRANDON - With eight new beds dedicated to seriously ill children, parents in eastern Hillsborough County won’t be forced to send their young ones to Tampa or St. Petersburg for treatment. The new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Brandon Regional Hospital opened in February and has already served about 40 children, said Unit Chairman Hamid Latif, a pediatric critical care specialist. The new beds are in addition to the 10-bed unit already established for pediatric in-patient stays. “It gives parents a bit more peace of mind,” knowing their children can be treated locally, instead of being moved to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa or All Children’s Hospital in St. Peter, Latif said. He and pediatric critical care specialists John Monaco and Hector Pabon will run the unit.The new PICU is staffed with a team of high level healthcare professionals specially trained to deal with pediatric intensive care issues, including seizures, infections and other complex illnesses or injuries. The new staff includes a pediatric neurologist, pulmonologist and gastroenterologist, all dedicated to the hospital. The pediatric intensivists, as these specialists are known, are dual board certified in both pediatrics and critical care medicine. They will be joined by nurses specializing in pediatric critical care medicine, sedation and invasive procedures. Since new Chief Executive Officer Bland Eng took over at Brandon Regional about a year ago, it has been a goal of his to expand the pediatric unit, said hospital spokeswoman Patricia Montgomery. Eng had established a children’s unit at his previous hospital – Palms West in Wellington on Florida’s east coast. The new tower there housed pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, and a medical surgery intensive care unit and laboratory. Brandon Regional Hospital had a pediatric intensive care unit years ago, but it was shut down, Montgomery said. Eng saw a need for it, with 20,000 children coming to the hospital each year. Brandon Regional also has a pediatric emergency room with nine beds dedicated to emergency care for children. And it has a Level II and Level III neonatal intensive care unit to provide on-site board certified neonatologists and specialty trained nurses for premature babies. Brandon Regional Hospital is a 398-bed hospital.