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Brandon Regional to debut new pediatric emergency room

By Ernest Hooper
Brandon Regional Hospital director of pediatric emergency medicine Subhankar Bandyopadhyay, known as Dr. Bandy, poses with Candice Ramesar, vice president of emergency service, inside the new pediatric emergency room at the hospital. Photo courtesy of Brandon Regional.

BRANDON — Dr. Subhankar Bandyopadhyay has spent a good part of his career working in pediatric emergency medicine, often teaching residents the finer points of caring for children.

Now, as the relatively new director of pediatric emergency medicine at Brandon Regional Hospital, Bandyopadhyay will officially take over a 16,000-square-foot, kid-friendly center on Monday.

He’s excited to take over a purpose-driven facility that dwarfs other centers he’s worked in.

"What I really feel is that after all these years of flying a small plane, I’m now going to be flying an Airbus 380," said Bandyopadhyay, referring to the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet considered the world’s largest passenger airliner.

Brandon Regional unveils its new pediatric emergency room with a special celebration from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday (Oct. 28) at the hospital on 119 Oakfield Drive.

The event will feature kid-friendly tours and children can bring plush animals to a "stuffed animal clinic" and take them through the ER as if they were being treated.

The event will also include bounce houses, face painting, candy making, trick-or-treating and other family-friendly activities.

But make no mistake, this is about more than fun and games. Brandon Regional officials see the new pediatric ER, part of a three-phase, $60-million makover of its emergency center, as a game-changer for kids and families in the Greater Brandon area.

The brightly-colored walls and warm lighting will help create a welcoming environment for injured kids, but the professionals working in the center are as critical as the brick and mortar.

"I think it starts with the people," said Candice Ramesar, the vice president of emergency service at Brandon Regional. "The people in our pediatric emergency department love kids. Most of our nurses have worked in the field of pediatrics for 10 years. Our charge nurse has been in the field for over 20 years.

"It’s about people who are able to connect with kids and parents and ease their fears."

The hospital will tout a no-cry zone in which staff takes great care to address parents and care for kids. Bandyopadhyay said the staff, which includes child life specialists, will concentrate on the three Ts — timeliness, trust and teamwork — and use its experience and approaches to bring calm to situations.

The staff can even subtly apply small doses of pain medication, entertain children with iPads and in some cases have them smiling while being treated.

Bandyopadhyay said the new center should allow parents and kids to remain close to home instead of traveling 30 minutes or even an hour to get treatment.

"We don’t want people to have to leave their community to get the best pediatric care," said Natalia Diaz, Brandon Regional’s director of marketing. "Now we’re just as good as the big pediatric hospitals."

Contact Ernest Hooper at [email protected] Follow him @hoop4you.