Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tampa: General

Saturday started out with my daughter's 8th birthday pool party extravaganza; kids and adults alike spent the day taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Sarah left the party early in the afternoon to enjoy a bike ride, then gave me a call at about 9pm saying, "Hey...weird question: could someone take me to the ER? I think I broke my arm.”

Apparently, Sarah's bike tire had gotten caught in a trolley track, and down she went. Helen and I, still wet from the pool, couldn't believe we were about to roll into Saturday night Ybor City to get her. We picked her up from Fuma Bella, where she stood outside the door with her arm in a makeshift sling made of bar rags. Charlie had taken good care of her.

The E.R. visit was about as pleasant as a hospital trip could be. Sarah was already registered and in a room by the time Helen and I parked the car. As we walked though the buildings to get to the new E.R., we saw the original hospital peeking out from behind the modern architecture and palm trees. It was eerie in the moonlight. Helen wondered aloud about ghosts.

And who decided to put a hospital on an island anyway? Of course there is a story, possibly legend, that tells how while at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, James Swann and David Davis asked Dr. J Brown Farrior where he wanted the new hospital. Davis drew a rough outline of the islands and Farrior pointed to the northern tip as the preferred location. And thus, Tampa Municipal Hospital was born.

Tampa General Hospital is now a modern, 877-bed world class facility that admits over 25,000 patients and delivers more than 4,000 babies each year. The emergency room handles 60,000 adult patients yearly.

Though the location is beautiful, it puts the hospital at risk to flooding, which has been a recurring issue in its 77 years. With the threat of hurricanes, frequent island evacuations, and poor island access by only two bridges, we just have to enjoy this hospital when we can.

Sarah did end up having a broken arm. We were in the E.R. for a short 3.5 hours. She was treated really well by the staff and the whole process seemed easier than I have ever experienced. Turns out, Tampa General isn't the worst place to spend your Saturday night. Especially when you're in such great company.

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