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The ambulances are a huge giveaway there’s something unique about Kingwood Emergency Hospital.
Drive past the building at 23330 US Hwy 59 N, and the first noticeable thing is the antique ambulances out front. One looks like it’s from the 1950s, possibly from the Korean War with the big red cross on the side, the other a spitting image of the Ghostbusters’ ECTO-1 car, but in its original bright neon ambulance orange colors.
The antique ambulances and attention to care are just a few ways the relatively new facility stands out from the crowd when it comes to emergent care. Opened in 2017, the brainchild of Dr. Eric McLaughlin and Richard Yount, Kingwood Emergency Hospital houses a 11-bed emergency department along with a 10-bed in-patient unit. Patients at Kingwood Emergency Hospital are seen within minutes, unlike traditional emergency departments where the wait could be a couple of hours.
“I really think that the biggest difference between us and the other hospitals is the small, personal hometown touch,” said Dr. Kimberly Wasso, emergency medical physician and community physician liaison. “We really want to go above and beyond just providing a quick bed and a quick doctor. We really want to make sure that we spend more time with patients.”
From the gridiron to Lake Houston, Dr. Kimberly Wasso has seen it all while practicing emergency medicine. Dr. Wasso used to work as one of the emergency doctors on staff at Green Bay Packers games, where staff saw upwards of 100 patients a game for various issues. Kingwood might be a much different environment than Lambeau Field, but the same high-level professional care is available at Kingwood Emergency Hospital.
“Dr. [Eric] McLaughlin, who is one of the founding physicians and a personal friend for years, said hey, what would you think about joining us?,” Dr. Wasso said. “I came in, took a look at the facility, I looked at their model they wanted to provide for the community, and I just fell in love with it immediately. It was a pretty easy jump for me.”
One of the misconceptions is Kingwood Emergency Hospital is part of the glut of the recently opened free-standing emergency clinics. Instead, it is a fully-staffed, private hospital. Some of the things that set them apart include doctors and nurses who are encouraged to spend more time with patients, and those in need of medical attention receive comfortable robes, slippers, and food catered to their needs from outside the hospital.
“I know because I’ve worked in regular emergency departments, but it’s really difficult to provide a concierge type service in an emergency department in a traditional hospital setting,” Dr. Wasso said. “We make sure that our staffing ratios are at such where we can provide that personalized touch, we don’t have a lot of red tape that we have to cut through if there are things that we need.”
While the facility doesn’t take on trauma cases or conduct in-house surgeries, they are able to respond to any emergency, and make sure patients are stabilized should they require more care. Future plans include building out the five-story facility to include a surgical center, offices, a pharmacy, a lecture hall to host students and events, as well as a possible partnership with Lone Star College. From day one, the leaders of Kingwood Emergency Hospital made it a priority to be active in the community.
“I most recently did presentations at the local high school’s HOSA club, a club for kids who are interested in health careers,” Dr. Wasso said. “I do a lot of things at the high schools, at nursing homes, at area businesses, or events in the community. I really try to help our facility plug into the community.”
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