Emergency room doctors at Beebe’s South Coastal Health Campus near Frankford work 12-hour shifts — and there’s rarely a dull moment. “It’s something new every day. You’re never going to be bored at this job,” says Dr. Jonathan Hilton.
From severe migraines to strokes, the staff in the ER are working to meet the growing health care needs of Sussex County. Dr. Hilton says the Campus, which also includes a cancer treatment center, is saving lives.
“There are people alive today because the South Coastal Campus is here. I had a patient walk through the front doors complaining of chest pain. Seven minutes later, the patient's heart stopped after a massive heart attack. Their partner had initially told them to go back to sleep. If they hadn’t come in, they may have never woken up,” he says.
The Campus opened in 2020 during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Beebe staff overcame significant obstacles to provide exceptional care.
“There was nothing typical about what we were facing,” says nurse manager Christine Freitas. “We didn’t know how sick people would be. There were also times when we didn’t have adequate supplies of PPE, and that was one of our biggest challenges.”
Employees met the pandemic-related challenges head-on, offering monoclonal antibody treatment to COVID patients to prevent them from becoming seriously ill. Since the Campus opened, the ER has treated more than 30,000 people. Advanced diagnostic imaging enables staff to better identify medical issues, and a helipad allows patients in need of more advanced treatments to be quickly flown to neighboring hospitals.
The addition of the South Coastal Health Campus is part of Beebe’s continuing effort to expand its footprint in southeastern Delaware — work that relies on its dedicated employees who take pride in serving their neighbors.
“We’re all a tight-knit group. Taking care of the community where I live is important to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people come in and say, ‘I’m so thankful you’re here.’ They are so appreciative of our care,” says Freitas.