For a child, going to the hospital can be scary. That’s why Wellstar Douglas Hospital’s new $5.7 million Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) offers a kid-friendly and kid-sized experience for Douglas County’s youngest patients. The nautical-themed 7,600 square-foot facility provides specialized care for children from birth to 18 years of age.

The world-class “just-for-kids” facility has a separate entrance and waiting room from the main Emergency Department and is currently open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The ten treatment rooms feature child-sized furniture, equipment and supplies.

“We created an environment that is optimum for healing and that helps our youngest patients feel as comfortable as possible,” said Dr. Avril Beckford, chief pediatric officer, Wellstar Health System. “Children in Douglas deserve to see doctors and nurses who understand them. We also wanted to give parents a state-of-the-art facility staffed by pediatric physicians close to home – there is no need to travel long distances with a sick child now, because this specialized facility is right here, in the Douglas County community.”

A deeper dive into kid-friendly care

Staffed by kid-friendly nurses and skilled providers devoted to children, the new kids’ ED is a result of collaboration between the architect, construction firm and pediatric experts. Wellstar’s pediatric team cares for children at more than 114,000 emergency visits a year across Wellstar’s hospitals.

“From the outside, there are colorful floor-to-ceiling glass windows,” Dr. Beckford said, as she imagined a child’s first impression. “It feels almost like you’re walking into an aquarium.”

Inside the pediatric ED, children and their parents are greeted by warm staff members, soothing murals of ocean life, a large flat screen TV and child-sized furnishings.

To help children be seen and treated more quickly, some rooms will be dedicated to patients with less serious conditions – such as sore throats and sprains. There will also be a trauma bay and a dedicated room for adolescent gynecological concerns.

Take a virtual tour of the new Pediatric Department

Help Douglas children get the care they deserve

Donors to the Wellstar Foundation – many from the Douglas community – funded nearly $1 million of the new Pediatric Emergency Department. Foundation representatives aim to raise another $508,000 for additional pediatric equipment and facility needs.

“The new Pediatric Emergency Department is the epitome of life-saving philanthropy in action as it is anticipated to provide care for more than 12,000 children each year,” said Julie Teer, senior vice president, Wellstar Health System, and president, Wellstar Foundation. “Wellstar is incredibly grateful to the community for generously supporting the Pediatric Emergency Department with donations that help make this project possible. While we are thrilled to be opening this new facility, additional donations are still needed to complete funding for this full-service, world-class vision of pediatric emergency care in Douglas County. We hope the community will continue to partner with us to ensure our most vulnerable patients have critical care available, right here at home.”

The Wellstar Foundation reinvests 100% of the donations received toward achieving Wellstar’s vision of delivering world-class care. Tax-deductible donations and commemorative brick orders can be made here. For more information, call 770-956-GIVE or email