(credit: cookchildrens.org)

(credit: cookchildrens.org)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Starting today it could very well be easier for children in Tarrant County to get medical care. This morning Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth opened the doors today on a new urgent care center, meant to relieve pressure on hospital emergency room.

Everyday the emergency room at Cook Children’s is jammed with young patients – with a vat array of ailments. “Unfortunately we have the busiest pediatric emergency department in the country. Yeah, we’re not proud of that,” said medical center president Nancy Cychol.

The new urgent care center is just across the street from the hospital, at 800 7th Avenue. The facility is meant to handle all of the non-emergency cases that have been showing up in the ER. Cychol says that includes problems like, “Ear infections, pain, strep throat, sore throat, cold symptoms, [and] flu…”

The new facility is basically designated for non-emergency patients. “We’re trying to cut down on what we’re doing with our ER lineup and so we’re opening an urgent care enter, where the not so sick children should come,” explained Cychol.

Unfortunately illnesses can’t be “scheduled” and often happen at an inopportune time. Cychol said, “When their child gets sick it’s usually not the time you can get into the doctor quickly, and so you use your ER as your primary care office.” Cook Children’s officials said the new urgent care center is especially for parents needing immediate care for a non-emergency problem.

While parents should seek medical help for youngsters with common ailments, Cychol said the end result is a backlog. “I mean it clogs up the ER so the really sick kids can’t be seen as quickly as we would like them to,” she said, adding,  “About 50-percent of them [sick children] don’t need to be there, because they are the kinds of illnesses that can be seen in an urgent care center.”

The new center could cut the number of emergency room hospital patients at Cook in half; equaling reduced patient loads and shortened wait times for everyone.

The new Cook Children’s Urgent Care center is open from 7 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week.

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