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Osceola Regional expands to meet county growth

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Victoria Sovren
For the News-Gazette
The Osceola Regional Medical Center is closing in on the completion of its $50 million expansion. Osceola County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Population growth is expected to increase by 119 percent by the year 2040, according to statistics.
“At Osceola Regional, we are continually looking for ways to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community,” said Davide Carbone, CEO of Osceola Regional Medical Center.
The sprawling new expansions include a state-of-the-art endoscopy unit, new neonatal intensive care unit, new progressive care unit, new inpatient acute physical rehabilitation center and adding a comprehensive stroke center. Other projects include the expansion of the freestanding Hunters Creek ER.
The crowning jewel in ORMC’s expansion has been obtaining the stroke center status.

News-Gazette Photo/Martin Maddock
Neurologist Dr. Ankur Garg describes the function of the new bi-plane neural angiography system and its capability for producing 3D imaging of blood vessels within the brain in Osceola Regional Medical Center’s new comprehensive stroke center.

This allows ORMC to treat stroke patients with complex cases who otherwise would have been transferred out of the county.
“We are the only comprehensive stroke center in Osceola County. Of the 250 hospitals in Florida, there are only about 40 comprehensive stroke centers. We service about three to four counties,” said Carbone.
These services include the prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation of strokes.
“Normally, you might have only three to four hours after the stroke first occurs to get the life-saving treatment you need. With a Comprehensive Stroke Center, that time can be extended to six, eight, even 12 hours.”
Dr. Ankur Garg is an ORMC neurologist who specializes in stroke treatment.
“We need to make our community more and more aware of the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke because coming to the hospital and calling 911 in time is so critical,” he said.
The most common symptoms of a stroke are weakness on the left side of the body, numbness on one side of the body, change in vision, difficulty speaking and slurred speech. “Because these symptoms are so obvious, luckily someone would notice and get them to the hospital in time,” said Garg.
A new MRI scanner and biplane imaging technology were added to the stroke center to aid in high-quality brain and neurological images.
“It’s going to be another great service we are providing here,” said Garg.
ORMC’s pediatric unit has been open since June 2016. Dr. Al Torres oversees the pediatric unit and pediatric ICU at ORMC. He is in charge of the pediatric intensivist program at Nemours Children’s Hospital.
“With the services of my team, the nurses, therapists and child life specialists provide services here locally for the kids that need not just general pediatric care but also for the ones that require specialty support,” said Torres. “We work with our colleagues at Nemours to provide that care here for them so that they can stay right here in their own backyard.”
Approximately $7 million was spent upgrading the pediatric unit.
New upgrades have come for the hospital’s smallest patients. The Neonatal ICU will be upgraded from a Level II to a Level III unit, the highest level of neonatal care attainable by a hospital. Level III status means ORMC will be able to care for babies born as young as 23 weeks. There will be a total of 18 Level II and III beds when it is opened in the coming months.
“We are very family friendly,” said Mary Ann Matthews, nurse manager of NICU services.