Erlanger's Children's Hospital Kennedy Outpatient Center now open

The Children's Hospital Kennedy Outpatient Center is now open in Chattanooga. We took a tour to show you the features. (Image: WTVC)

There's a new choice in Chattanooga when it comes to health care for your children.

Tuesday marked the grand opening of the Erlanger Children's Hospital Kennedy Outpatient Center.

We took a tour of the three story building to show you the features designed to make your child safer, and more comfortable while at the doctor.

First up - the EOS imaging device. It solves a big problem when it comes to orthopedic care.

"Keeping a child still for 15-20 minutes is a difficult task," said Erlanger's Chief of Radiology Dr. Justin Calvert. "Basically it takes an X-ray of a child's entire skeleton, including their spine and their legs, all in 20 seconds."

Even more important, this technology reduces the amount of radiation patients are exposed to.

"As a radiologist we are very concerned about exposing children to radiation because that can increase their risk for cancer later on in life," Dr. Calvert said.

Calvert says this is the first of its kind in the region, and it will make doctor's jobs much easier.

"This is an imaging device that's going to help diagnose these diseases and help orthopedic surgeons figure out how to treat these kids."

Another feature of the center, the exam rooms have separate entrances for patients and doctors.

This allows doctors to share information and collaborate.


Erlanger's Pediatric Imaging Manager Bryon Stutz says what kids will focus on are the special touches that help put patient's fears to rest.

"Engage children and make them feel good about coming to see the doctor," Stutz said.

"When you think about children's hospitals you think of things like imagination, you think of creativity, you think of inspiration, you think of innovation," Calvert said.

Now this innovation is coming to the Scenic City.

You'll see lots of color as you walk through the building.

There are replicas of a fire truck, tow truck, even a hang glider and a train.

Plus murals, and more than 100 pieces of local artwork.

Lead architect Dan Luhrs says the goal is to make the building inviting to patients and their families.

"Really simple stuff, generally architecture works best that way," Luhrs said.

Simple, while also inspiring children to learn and use their imaginations.

There's a 'secret garden' space outside where kids have to search to find the button to the door.

Luhrs said more than two-thirds of the cost of the project was paid for by donations and partnerships.

"That is unheard of to get that sort of support from your community."

Calvert says the goal with all of this is to create a space where kids actually want to come to the doctor.

"As an adult I walk in and I feel like I'm a kid all over again."

He says this type of environment makes it easier for children, parents and doctors to interact, without all the intimidation.

"This place is very welcoming and warm and it looks fun, and if I were a kid I'd love to come here," Calvert said.

The center also features a Woodmore Memorial.

The stone monument is dedicated to the victims of the 2016 bus crash that killed six students.

The outpatient center will not take the place of the emergency room or hospital.

The center will start seeing patients December 17.


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