New pediatric ER at Florida Hospital helps ease doctor visits for kids

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Toy injuries, flu season, over-indulging on holiday foods are all reasons hospital emergency room visits spike during the holidays.

For children, that can be a scary experience, but that’s changing for young patients across Tampa Bay.

Florida Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital now have an exclusive partnership to deliver high-tech pediatric care designed to take the fear out of a visit to the doctor.

The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors is how the walls come to life with underwater themes and each ER room is equipped with Philips Ambient Lighting.

“We can put on the ocean theme and the colors will change. If we want to do a straight color theme, and a child wants a soft pink glow, we can do that,” said Dr. Heidi-Marie Kellock, who heads up the pediatric ER at Florida Hospital.

“The thing with children, when they come into the ER you worry the most about them just getting freaked out. They’re already scared, they’re in pain, this might be the first time they’ve felt pain, so the ER is designed to distract,” said Kellock.

The equipment is tailored to fit children, and blends into the pirate ship theme.

Kellock explains when parents and children are calm, treating an emergency is much easier for everyone involved.

Also new at Florida Hospital, is the new Doc First trend, that’s taking off nationwide. When a young patient comes to the ER they see the doctor first. The idea is to fast-track care, so instead of running a bunch of tests first and then seeing a physician, the family meets with the doctor first. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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