Peyton Manning helps announce new St. Vincent ER for kids, brand expansion

By Megan Erbacher

A horde of people packed the lobby at St. Vincent Evansville on Aug. 14 in anticipation of a major announcement with a “special guest.”

The crowd clapped and cheered as Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning entered the room through a door behind the press-conference podium. Manning visited Evansville to help announce the opening of the new Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital Emergency Room for Children at St. Vincent Evansville and the expansion of the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital brand in the Tri-State.

Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning chats with Daughter of Charity Sister Mary John Tintea after a press conference on Aug. 14 announcing the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital brand expansion and new emergency room for kids at St. Vincent Evansville. The Message photos by Megan Erbacher

Franciscan Sister Jane McConnell, head of mission integration for St. Vincent Evansville, led the group in prayer before the news conference. Other representatives included Dr. Hossain M. Marandi, president of Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital; and Dan Parod, president of the Southern Region for St. Vincent Evansville.

Manning described the day as “groundbreaking.” He said the addition of a second Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in southern Indiana allows the team to provide life-changing medical expertise to more families, train future pediatric healthcare professionals and, “most importantly, continue the healthcare system’s mission to care for the poor and our most vulnerable patients.”

“As a parent myself, I understand the importance of selecting a care provider for your child,” Manning said. “You need a doctor and a care team that listens to you and truly understands the needs of your child and your family. I have seen first-hand the exceptional care provided by our teams throughout the state of Indiana, and I am thrilled for this community to benefit from that care. The pediatricians, the specialists, the staff — they are committed to quality, to innovation and successful outcomes.”

Evansville residents will soon notice the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital logo on outpatient and inpatient pediatric facilities and services.

The newly designed emergency room for children offers specialized pediatric emergency care closer to home for Tri-State families, and it includes seven private treatment rooms and specialized equipment. Each room displays an Evansville-themed painting; examples include the Evansville Otters, the University of Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana and Mesker Park Zoo.

To reduce anxiety and minimize wait times, officials said X-rays and results from lab tests will be given to parents inside the emergency room, which is staffed by nurse practitioners specially-trained in pediatrics, along with board-certified emergency medicine physicians. The team is prepared to care for children with acute, chronic and complex illnesses.

Children treated in the new emergency room will have access to follow-up care by the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital network of board-certified pediatric subspecialists who treat some of the more acute and complex conditions, and pediatricians who provide primary care for routine health and wellness.

Daughter of Charity Sister Catherine Brown has spent the last 18 months completing resource work and case management at St. Vincent’s Center for Children in Evansville. Sister Catherine said the new emergency room and expansion is a “blessing” because now they can provide better care close to home.

“It gives us so many more resources (that we didn’t have before) to be able to take care of these families and to take care of these kids,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to be able to tell a parent you can come here (instead of driving to Indianapolis). It’s a name and it’s so much more because it’s giving parents and children so many more resources.”

After the news conference, Manning walked over to Daughter of Charity Sister Mary John Tintea and her fellow Daughters of Charity sisters. Grinning from ear-to-ear, Tintea eagerly greeted him.

This wasn’t Sister Mary John’s first time meeting the former NFL quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion. She recalled when she met Manning around 2004, during her nearly 22 years spent at St. Vincent Indianapolis, where she served as chaplain and worked primarily with patients undergoing cardiac surgery. A fellow Daughters of Charity sister said Sister Mary John was “a bit of an icon” in Indianapolis.

Sister Mary John was voted No. 1 Colts fan more than once; and in 2006, she was named the “greatest football fan in America” by ABC’s “Good Morning America.” As part of the recognition, she was given two tickets to Super Bowl XL in Detroit, and she’s attended more Super Bowl games since.

In Evansville on Aug. 14, Sister Mary John brought a photo of herself with Manning taken around 2004. Manning didn’t hesitate to autograph it for her.

Manning said Indiana will always have a special place in his heart.

In 1998, he was the No. 1 draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts, and, despite a challenging rookie year, he said a “bright spot” that year was when he became part of the St. Vincent team.

“That is a relationship I have cherished since,” Manning said.

The two hospitals are no stranger to collaboration. St. Vincent Evansville and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent have teamed up for years to care for Tri-State kids. Providers will share best practices, policies and protocols to ensure patients receive the best pediatric care across Indiana. The expansion will only strengthen the relationship, officials said.

Other pediatric services in Evansville include:
• Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) — 31-bed capacity
• Perinatal Intensive Care Unit (PICU) — seven beds
• Pediatric inpatient room — 22-bed capacity
• Center for Children, which serves as a comprehensive outpatient care facility onsite
• Integrated psychology onsite at St. Vincent Evansville Center for Children
• Registered outpatient dietitian that integrates with pediatric specialists
• Pediatric neurology and orthopedics
• Resource Center that offers support groups, access to medical resources and to assist families with health care and other personal needs
• Internationally recognized and award-winning pediatric feeding program
• Level II Certified Trauma Center
• Double board-certified pediatric neonatologists available 24/7 for children
• Emergency Room for Children
• Pediatric Diabetes Access Clinic
• Pediatric sensory playground for therapeutic service