Beebe reopens its Millville doors

For the 23rd year, the Beebe Emergency Medical Center in Millville will open to serve the local and transplant population during the busy summer season. After opening at 7 a.m. tomorrow, the Center will remain open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, until 7 a.m. on Sept. 5.

Fran Needham, Beebe’s director of emergency services, said that she and other hospital officials had considered opening the center year-round but deemed that unnecessary. The Route 26 center does, however, “meet the needs” of the area’s ever-expanding summer population, she said.

“The area of Rehoboth and Lewes has become so congested,” Needham said, “The access to the Lewes campus would delay traffic.”

According to Needham and Beebe spokesperson Susan Towers, most people visit the center for broken bones, and parents also bring children to the center for the flu and minor illnesses. They also go to the center to receive medications for sore throats and ear infections and for treatment for sunburns, cuts and scrapes, they said. Lab work and imaging is available in an adjacent Beebe spot in the Food Lion parking lot.

People with true emergencies, such as heart attacks, are still expected to deal with such problems through the appropriate channels, Towers said.

“If someone needs to see a doctor, go there,” she said of the center. “If it’s definitely life-threatening, we encourage people to dial 911. When you call 911, you have a paramedic there within minutes.”

Residents and visitors alike, though, have utilized the center regularly for the past six years. In the summer of 2000, 4,337 people visited the emergency center for treatment. That number had risen to 4,760 by 2003 and continued to rise for the next two years, showing a local summer population trend.

In 2004, 5,245 people visited the center before its business increased by 14 percent when 5,400 graced its rooms last summer. Beebe officials have every reason to believe that those numbers will continue to rise as people continue to flock to this section of the Delaware coastline between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

“We get continued request from residents in that area to provide services,” said Needham, adding that Beebe is considering a walk-in clinic in the area. “Otherwise, they would be traveling quite a distance. It definitely meets the need.”