AdventHealth Waterman celebrates opening of new pediatric ER


Parents and children tour the new pediatric ER Tuesday at AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares. // Provided photos

More than 700 community members gathered Tuesday, Dec. 10, at AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares for the grand opening of a new pediatric emergency room.

The event included free family-friendly activities such as photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ornament crafts, a live nativity scene and more.

The ER will officially open to patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning at 6am Friday, Dec. 13. Each year, AdventHealth Waterman sees about 67,000 ER patients, including 11,800 pediatric patients.

The celebration marked the completion of Phase II of a 111,000-square-foot, $85 million expansion at the hospital at 1000 Waterman Way, a news release states. In addition to adding the eight-bed pediatric ER, this project also improves privacy and patient flow within the emergency department.

“Before our new unit was built, the closest dedicated pediatric ER is in Ocala, Orlando and Gainesville,” Laura Perry, AdventHealth Waterman director of emergency services, says in the release. “Knowing we cared for nearly 12,000 patients under the age of 18 in our emergency department last year, we wanted to develop a pediatric ER for families right here in Lake County that could be staffed 24/7 by emergency medicine physicians and specially trained nurses, and designed to be child-friendly and scare-free.”

In collaboration with AdventHealth for Children, the new ER’s clinical team is specially trained in pediatric care. The team includes board-certified emergency physicians, nurses and child-life specialists who ensure each patient’s emotional, development and psychosocial needs are met.

“For parents and children, a visit to the ER can be a stressful and fearful time, so it’s important that we provide specialized care that’s designed around the needs of children and their families,” Dr. Rajan Wadhawan, senior executive officer of AdventHealth for Children, says in the release. “This new pediatric ER provides a calming environment for families and, more importantly, is staffed by caregivers who are experts in pediatric medicine.”


One of the rooms at the new pediatric ER at AdventHealth Waterman.

This construction project doubled the footprint of Waterman’s emergency department and grew capacity from 35 to 58 beds, making it the largest ER facility in Lake County.

“Since 2000, the population of Lake County has grown by nearly 50 percent and it’s expected to grow by another 12 percent over the next four years,” Abel Biri, AdventHealth Waterman president and CEO, says in the release. “Caring for the additional 15,000 patients over our originally intended capacity was a strain, and we knew we needed to expand our ER to meet the needs of patients today, as well as plan for the growing need for emergency care in the future.”

In January, a 12-bed area for adults receiving minor care for lacerations, broken bones or flu symptoms also will open. Patients in this area will receive rapid treatment, including physician evaluations and test results, and will be discharged to the comfort of their own home.

To learn more, visit AdventHealth Waterman has 287 beds and is one of six hospitals in Lake, Flagler and Volusia counties comprising the AdventHealth Central Florida Division – North Region.