Kids still welcome at Houston's Ben Taub

May 8, 2009

Houston, we do not have a problem.

Houston, we do not have a problem.

Six weeks ago, Houston’s Ben Taub General Hospital debated closing down its pediatric ward, since there were regular vacant beds there but a shortage of beds for adults. Patients were being diverted to other hospitals because there were no beds for them.

A solution has been reached that dos not involve shuttering the pediatric ward. Instead, 34 of the pediatric beds will be converted over to adult uses. They will be for patients out of the intensive care unit, but not out of the woods, who don’t need as much care but still require a hospital stay.

Twenty-six beds will remain for pediatric use. It more than halves the pediatric ward’s capacity, but will allow for fewer traffic jams and diversions from the emergency department. Harris County Hospital District chief executive David Lopez made the announcement last week.

Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, is not the only city with a possible surplus of pediatric beds. Minneapolis (which has the sixteenth biggest metro area) is prepping its fifth children’s hospital. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in St. Paul, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Shriners Hopsitals for Children in Minneapolis, and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics (five locations and a sixth clinic) already exist. The University of Minnesota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital, opening in 2011, will be number five.