PANAMA CITY- Angie Harwood and her 13-month old daughter, Joy Anna know how important it is to have a pediatric intensive unit close by.
"I was scared, she was hardly breathing," said Angie Harwood, mother.
Joy Anna is recovering from a respiratory virus at bay county's first pediatric intensive care unit.
The treatment has been extensive.
"Oxygen, got her rehydrated, did some blood work, but the main thing she needed was the oxygen. they did some breathing treatments."
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center opened its intensive care unit last week.
Before the unit opened, parents had to send their child to hospitals outside of bay county, even out of state.
"Good for these kids to be still here in the community and start their healing process here, dr. Reynaldo De La Rosa, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Pediatric ICU Medical Director.
Dr. Reynaldo De La Rosa says the faster they can get to children faced with life-threatening conditions, the better care they'll receive.
"Children are very fragile and their condition can deteriorate quick. since we are here, within a few minutes, they can get whatever they needed."
It's also a convenience for people like Angie, who has 8-children and has difficulties traveling.
"It's very reassuring to know that when you have very sick children, you won't have to go somewhere else and have the facilities in your town to take care of the children that need it."