San Juan Regional Medical Center unveils new pediatric wing

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FARMINGTON, N.M. — The San Juan Regional Medical Center’s pediatrics unit is newly renovated for the first time since the 1970s.

“I have been here for 40 years and that was the original unit that I came to,” said Bonnie Higgins, the manager for the pediatric unit.

In the old unit, space was tight.

“Everyone was cramped in there together, there were no private restrooms,” said Audra Winters, executive director for the San Juan Medical Foundation.

To make it more like a home for the children, the foundation started a fundraising campaign back in 2019.

“The need for our kiddos to have a place to play and stay and heal. That’s really important when you’re looking to bring more people into the area and also hiring skilled care workers, too. You want to have something that’s high-tech and enjoyable to work,” Winters said.

She said the community was more than willing to help address that need. They were able to raise $750,000 to move the old pediatrics unit to a newly-renovated wing in the hospital.

“The number of rooms has increased so we’ll have a few more rooms and that will allow our patients to stay in the community. We are one of the only hospitals that have a pediatric unit in the Four Corners,” Higgins said.

The new unit also has a playroom, on-suites, sleeper recliners, and two negative pressure isolation rooms. But what really stands out, are the colors.

“We always have that theme of balloons because New Mexico is known for balloons. Hot air balloons and we wanted lots of color,” Higgins added. “The more comfortable you are, the more positive things are, the better you’re healing. That’s what we want, a more healing environment here.”

Winters said 99% of donations came directly from the community. Now, in this new space, the hospital will be able to treat more kids.