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2003 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Opens Expanded Pediatric Unit

CLEARWATER, Fla. (May 1, 2003)---To provide more access to inpatient pediatric care for families in central Pinellas County, Morton Plant Hospital has launched a new pediatric inpatient program. Located on the 7th floor of the Barnard building of the hospital, the 14-bed unit provides general pediatric care and is an enhancement of the hospital's short-stay pediatric unit. The nursing staff cares for children ages newborn to 17.

"Morton Plant Hospital serves a large community of children as demonstrated by our 9,000 pediatric emergency room visits last year, as well as the fact that we have one of the largest obstetrics units in Pinellas County," said Hal Ziecheck, administrator and chief operating officer, Morton Plant Hospital. "With our neonatal services and the expanded pediatrics unit we can provide the Clearwater community with complete pediatric care from birth onward."

A board certified pediatrician and pediatric nurse practitioner provide coverage on the new unit and in ER-1, the emergency department of Morton Plant Hospital. "This program will be a plus for pediatricians, their patients and their families. Families can stay in the local community while their child is hospitalized. Pediatricians can also continue to focus more on outpatient care if they choose," said Daniel Plasencia, M.D., medical director of the new pediatric unit.

Dr. Plasencia expects the most frequently admitted diagnoses to the unit will be dehydration, upper respiratory illness, minor surgery and orthopedic injuries. "Our goal is to make it easy for the family to be a part of the child's care and recuperation," said Dr. Plasencia. For more severe illnesses or injuries, Morton Plant Hospital has transfer agreements with Tampa Children's Hospital and All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care.

In 2002 Morton Plant was named one of America's Top 50 Hospitals, according to AARP Modern Maturity magazine and a 100 Top Hospital in the "Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success" study for the fourth consecutive year. In 2000, HCIA-Sachs (now Solucient) named Morton Plant as the only hospital in the country to achieve 100 Top Hospital status in four categories - cardiovascular, stroke, orthopaedic and overall.

In 2001, Morton Plant Hospital joined forces with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. Morton Plant also offers a family practice residency program in conjunction with the University of South Florida. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., 727-462-7000.

Contact: Phoebe Ochman/Beth Hardy

Morton Plant News Bureau

727 / 461-8117 Phone

727 / 468-7586 Pager