For a child, it’s scary to be sick. But now children who visit the pediatric treatment room at Bristol Regional Medical Center can escape to an underwater haven.

Kingsport artist Suzanne Barrett Justis has painted an ocean motif throughout the room. The centerpiece is a large mural, and fish and sea life are painted around all the equipment and on the ceiling. Even the examination table has been decorated – it now looks like a submarine.

“The painting was done to make the room more kid-friendly,” said Martha Parker, clinical manager of the New Life Birthing Center and pediatrics at Bristol Regional. “We wanted children to have a lot of interesting things to look at, and to make the room as warm and pleasant as possible.”

So far, Parker said children seem to like the artwork.

“We try to let them look around and get more comfortable before we get started,” Parker said. “They like the artwork so much that we are planning on adding more interesting things, like an ocean-themed mobile, to the room as well.”

Children who are treated in the room range in age from newborn to 10 years.

“We don’t do routine office care here,” Parker said. “We use the room for IV starts, spinals and things like that.

“We’re really just trying to lighten up their visit a little.”


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Jim Wozniak
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