Children’s South celebrates 20 years of care: learn 6 things you may not know about the facility, including the International Adoption Clinic

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Children’s South. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

Children’s South is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. The Children’s of Alabama facility off Interstate 459 has seen a lot of change–and growth–over the years. We recently spoke with physicians and staff at Children’s South to learn more about the services offered there, along with the hospital’s unique approach to patient care. Birmingham parents, take note!

1) Built in 1999, Children’s South has grown to meet the needs of the staff and community

The precursor to Children’s South was an after-hours-only clinic near Chuck E. Cheese on Highway 31 in Vestavia. Robin Prater and Wally Shaw have been with Children’s of Alabama since before the current facility was built. They explained that due to high demand, the I-459 location quickly expanded after it opened to serve patients throughout the day across a variety of disciplines. Spaces that formerly housed a cafe and community meeting space have been reworked for patient care and offices.

2) Children’s South is pediatric-focused, and its employees are solely pediatric specialists–that matters

A game for the patients at Children’s South. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

Everyone at Children’s South specializes in pediatrics. That’s important, because as Chief CRNA Lisa Fullman said, “Children aren’t just little adults. There’s a different way of taking care of them.” All care providers at Children’s South are focused on the nuances that come with caring for patients, from providing games and coloring books to calming the patients and family members before surgery.

Patient and parent education is a big part of what happens at Children’s South. Children’s South includes a fully pediatric outpatient surgery center. The center has six operating rooms and performs more than 7,000 cases annually. Surgical specialties include ENT, orthopedic, eyes and dermatology procedures. If your child is undergoing surgery at Children’s South, you’ll get a call from the CRNA the day before to walk you through the planned process. It’s nice to know what to expect before your child goes into surgery.

3) Children’s South attracts patients from all over the Birmingham area and beyond

Children’s South surgery. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

Children’s South location is convenient for those who live south of Birmingham. Since it’s located right off the interstate, people come from across Alabama–from as far as Dothan–to get care there.

Surgery patients at Children’s South never need to stay overnight. The surgeries performed at South are elective. This makes scheduling more predictive, which Dr. Brian Wiatrak said makes planning much easier for busy families.

4) Children’s South is home to 17 clinics, including an international adoption clinic

Clinic waiting room at Children’s South. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

The multidisciplinary facility is home to 17 clinics, including neurology, dermatology, ENT, GI, pulmonary, rehab, audiology, weight loss and more. The robust ENT clinic treats 5,800 cases annually. Parents with young babies are familiar with the dreaded ear infection–if your child ever experiences this health issue, then Pediatrics ENT Associates can help. The practice performs most of the ENT surgeries at Children’s South. Dr. Wiatrak, in fact, performed the first surgery at South back in 1999. His partners are Drs. Audie Woolley, J. Scott Hill, Nicholas Smith and Brian Kulbersh. Since then Wiatrak and his partners have done tens of thousands of ear tubes there.

Did you know that Birmingham is also a regional hub for adoption? The UAB International Adoption Clinic at Children’s South includes a physician, nurse, occupational/developmental therapist and social worker/family therapist. In addition to caring for internationally and domestically adopted children, they connect adoptive parents to resources in the community.

5) Doctors and staff played an integral role in the building’s design

Children’s South. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

According to Wiatrak, an ambulatory care facility located in the suburbs was a novel concept when Children’s South was built, and it was one of the things that first attracted him to Birmingham. Once he relocated here, he and others were given input on the facility’s design. Wiatrak said it was helpful that those who were going to be using the building were involved in its architectural planning.

6) Children’s South is a great option for pediatric outpatient surgery and imaging

CT scanner at Children’s South. Photo by Taylor Babington for Bham Now

If your little one needs an MRI or CAT scan, the Pediatric Imaging Center (PIC) is the place to go. All imaging exams at South are interpreted by Pediatric Radiologists. Parents know that getting a small child to stay still for a 45-minute scan can be tough (or almost impossible). Jackie Canter, who manages the PIC, explained that South has taken children’s needs into account in the imaging department, including sedation designed for children and a mini-CT scanner kids can play with before going in for imaging.

Check it out

If you’d like to learn more about Children’s South or make an appointment, talk to your physician, visit www.childrensal.org or call 205-638-4800. Children’s South is located at: 1940 Elmer J Bissell Road, Birmingham, Ala. 35243.

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