Hospital suspends plans to close pediatric unit

Warren General Hospital’s pediatric unit won’t be closed for now.

According to a release from George Lilja, WGH Director of Marketing and Development, “Warren General Hospital has suspended plans to close the Inpatient Pediatric Care Unit. As always, outpatient care for pediatric patients remains available, including emergency care visits, surgical visits, walk-in care visits, all diagnostic services, all rehabilitation services, and 24-hour observation and treatment to address pediatric issues such as dehydration and croup.”

Warren General Hospital CEO Rick Allen said on Tuesday that “twenty-four-hour observation for pediatric patients is an outpatient service and was not intended to be part of any potential Pediatric Unit closure evaluation. This service and care can occur on the pediatric unit or in the emergency room. Often this is the case, and 24-hour observation takes place in the emergency room.”

The pediatric unit, Allen said, will continue to remain available to pediatric patients needing both 24-hour observation, as well as “an extended stay of two-plus days.”

“We will continue to participate and treat patients there,” now that inpatient services are not being discontinued, said Dr. David McConnell of Warren Pediatric Associates. “We are very appreciative that they have reconsidered their decision to close the unit, and we’re also really glad to see that the community was so passionate and active about making their feelings known.”

The Warren General Hospital statement continues, “Like most small community hospitals, economic conditions exist that require difficult decisions to be made. Warren General Hospital strives to remain an independent and community-focused hospital so that decision making can continue to be ‘local’ and we can continue to work collaboratively to address future challenges. It is critical that the citizens of our community use the services at Warren General Hospital.”

Allen said, “Many Warren residents have passionately expressed their need for and desire to keep available inpatient pediatric care. We ask this same level of commitment to use other Warren General Hospital and Medical Staff services, including general surgery, orthopedics, primary care, specialty surgical care, cancer care, behavioral health, outpatient diagnostics, rehabilitation, and home care. This will help us overcome economic obstacles.

“The dedicated team of professionals at Warren General Hospital looks forward to meeting the challenges ahead,” he said. “With the support and commitment of the community, we will continue to provide safe, high-quality and patient-oriented healthcare to the residents of Warren County and beyond.”