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'It's fabulous': Hawkinsville's hospital looks to improve care with new ER facility

Taylor Regional Hospital held its grand opening for its newest ER.

HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. — Taylor Regional Hospital in Hawkinsville opened its new ER. Last year, we reported the $6 million ground-breaking project. It has seven exam rooms, 35 surgical beds, and a negative pressure room for treating COVID or the flu. 

"It's fabulous. I've been sneaking over here with the other nurse during the process to see its development," Dr. John H. Washington, ER physician at Taylor Regional, said. 

The ER remodel came after there was a lot of overlap between well and sick patients. Haley Kaufman, Chief Nursing Officer, says many of their patients can't travel to the bigger cities. 

"To be able to come here and get the care that they need in this town, it's amazing," Kaufman said. 

The small town hospital can now better care for those who can't travel to more prominent hospitals in Macon or Houston county. Kaufman says they can provide better service with the help of nearby county hospitals. 

"Crisp Regional, Dodge County Hospital, Houston Healthcare, Navicent, our HCA facility, all of us really work together. We've seen a lot of back-order issues in healthcare. Just like the rest of the world, you see all the issues with trying to get supplies, we help each other out. I may have something they need, or they may have something that I need, or they may have something that I need, and we share amongst each other, and we try to help each other out to help all our communities," Kaufman said. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 9,917 people were living in the county. Dr. Washington says they see patients for various concerns. 

"We see heart attacks, we see toothaches, we see strokes, we see trauma, we basically see everything," Dr. Washington said. 

If a patient needs further care, the closest trauma center to Taylor Regional Hospital is in Macon at Atrium Health Navicent. Money from the federal CARES Act fund was used to remodel the ER. The remodel also included making the ER more spacious, so patients with COVID didn't overlap with others. Doctor Washington says the care in rural communities will continue to improve with healthcare workers willing to help in the community. 

"You can sense the personalization aspect of the hospital with the community and the folks that live here in this county," Dr. Washington said.

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