Lake County’s First Pediatric ER Now Open at AdventHealth Waterman

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Lake County’s First Pediatric ER Now Open at AdventHealth Waterman

TAVARES, Fla., December 13, 2019 – As of today at 6 a.m., kids in Lake County now have a pediatric ER to care for them 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

The opening of the eight-bed pediatric ER at AdventHealth Waterman marks the completion of Phase II of a 111,000-square-foot, $85 million expansion.

Last year, AdventHealth Waterman cared for 67,000 patients in the ER, including 11,800 pediatric patients.

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

“Before our new unit was built, the closest dedicated pediatric ER was in Ocala, Orlando and Gainesville,” said Laura Perry, AdventHealth Waterman director of emergency services. “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.”

“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,” said Dr. Rajan Wadhawan, senior executive officer of AdventHealth for Children. “This new pediatric ER provides a calming environment for families, and more importantly, is staffed by caregivers who are experts in pediatric medicine.”

This construction project doubled the footprint of the 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%, and it’s expected to grow by another 12% over the next four years,” said Abel Biri, AdventHealth Waterman president and CEO. “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.”

“More than 80% of our hospital’s patients originate from the emergency department. While the pediatric ER is a new and important service, this expansion project is so much more than that,” Biri added.

In addition to adding an eight-bed pediatric ER, this expansion project also improved privacy and patient flow within the emergency department.

In January, a 12-bed area for minor care for adults, such as treating lacerations, broken bones or flu symptoms, will also 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.

The project was designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners of Jacksonville. Construction was completed by Robins & Morton of Orlando.

This project is the second largest investment in a healthcare facility in Lake County’s history – since AdventHealth Waterman’s Tavares campus was completed more than 15 years ago.

To learn more, visit

About AdventHealth Waterman
AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares has 299-beds and is one of the six hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties that composes the AdventHealth Central Florida Division - North Region. Formerly known as Florida Hospital Waterman, the organization’s parent company changed the name of all wholly-owned entities to AdventHealth on Jan. 2, 2019. Based in Altamonte Springs, AdventHealth is a connected system of care. With more than 80,000 team members, AdventHealth is one of the nation’s largest faith-based health care systems with nearly 50 hospitals and hundreds of care sites in nearly a dozen states. AdventHealth Waterman is located in the heart of Lake County and was founded in 1938 by Frank Waterman. With the mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ, AdventHealth Waterman provides whole person care to heal the body, mind and spirit. For more information about AdventHealth Waterman, visit

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