Mercy Welcomes Pediatric Ward - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Mercy Welcomes Pediatric Ward

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A midnight ear ache or follow-up asthma care for kids in Williston has been a challenge --- until now.

As Jennifer Thorgramson tells us, Mercy Medical Center is getting bigger to better assist the smallest patients.

Mercy Medical Center has added another piece to the puzzle.

As the hospital serves the growing population in Williston, the youngest members of the community now have a Pediatric ward for themselves.

(Dr. Sheila Ponzio, Mercy Medical Center Pediatrics) "What's nice about it is that we're kind of, we have our own entrance and waiting room so the moms and kids don't feel massed in with a lot of other people, especially when they have newborns, they don't want to be near sick people, they want to be off by themselves, so that's nice."

The new upbeat pediatric friendly exam rooms are only part of the Pediatric Clinic addition.

Dr. Jane Grorud was once Williston's only pediatrician, traveling once a week from Bismarck.

Mercy Medical has added two physicians, reaching to either coast to round out the team.

(Dr. Menelik Mulu, Mercy Medical Center Pediatrics) "Pediatrician was my wish, my passion, my thing."

Dr. Mulu is the most recent arrival, after practicing eight years in New York.

He says Mercy Medical is a well-equipped small town facility.

Some specialty conditions will still need to travel to a larger hospital, but the common pediatric conditions like asthma, vaccines or ADHD can now be handled right here in Williston.

(Dr. Menelik Mulu, Mercy Medical Center Pediatrics) "That's the only difference. The building and instruments are up to date here. I'd especially like to thank the nurses, they are wonderful."

Dr. Sheila Ponzio arrived in Williston this fall, leaving behind the sunshine of California for the hometown feel of North Dakota.

(Dr. Sheila Ponzio, Mercy Medical Center Pediatrics) "I missed being home. My family is here. As much as I liked the sunshine, I really missed the family functions and being around sisters and brothers. So I wanted to come back. I waited until my kids were established and off to college and now seemed like a good time to come."

She says the Mercy Medical expansion into pediatrics was an important move for the region.

(Dr. Sheila Ponzio, Mercy Medical Center Pediatrics) "It shows a commitment that we have to young people. We have a lot of families. It shows that we're committed to providing more pediatric care. People have been traveling far for lots of things and they still have to do that in some sub-specialty care but I think that now people will be more comfortable staying in Williston for at least the bulk of their pediatric care."

The pieces are coming together at Mercy Medical Center as the facility makes a healthy jump toward tomorrow with the future generation in mind.

In Williston, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

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