Dixie Regional expands with Fairy Garden, Neurosciences; STGnews Photo Gallery

Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, January 23, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – New developments at Intermountain Healthcare Southwest Region at Dixie Regional Medical Center are underway to enhance the patient experience.

One is a multi-million-dollar institution with cutting-edge technology, a highly trained staff and lifesaving capabilities; the other is a wistful place of solace for young and old alike. They are the Child Development Center Fairy Garden and Southern Utah Neurosciences Institute.

Fairy Garden

The Child Development Center offers high-quality childcare and early childhood education to the children of DRMC employees ages 6 weeks to 8 years old. Programs encourage youngsters to explore their imaginations and grow a lifelong passion for learning.

DRMC Landscape Services Coordinator Larry Metcalf’s creative mind recognized the concept of miniature gardening, a rapidly expanding trend in the southeastern United States, as a beneficial addition to the center and the hospital’s horticulture program. He wanted to create a peaceful, magical place for visitors of all ages to absorb and appreciate the beauty of nature: A fairy garden. From the moment Metcalf presented his idea, center manager Collett Curtis was drawn to the powerful vision and potential of the project.

Miniature gardens can be as simple or elaborate as their creator desires; Metcalf combined the two approaches. He used existing plants to form the basic landscape, then added various flowers, shrubs and moss. He recycled broken pottery to create the stepping stones, and the final touch was a few pieces of “fairy furniture.” The entire project cost just under $400 and was completed in May.

“This beautiful fairy garden is an amazing addition to the center,” Curtis said. “Larry’s hard work and dedication really developed into something special.”

“This garden is a symbol of our team’s commitment to healing and bringing joy to even the smallest members of our Dixie Regional family,” Metcalf said.

Located among the animal sculptures near the Child Development Center, the garden has already provided wonderful experiences, including kids hiding in hopes of spotting a “fairy” and leaving gifts or notes for them.

“We plan to keep adding to and changing the garden to reflect the imaginations of our children and their ‘fairies’ who live there,” Curtis said. “The extent of the magical possibilities of this garden is only limited to what you believe.”


More than 600 medical conditions involve the human nervous system, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, stroke, spine ailments and countless other disorders. There is essentially no hospital department that is not affected in some way by neuroscience.

The Southern Utah Neurosciences Institute addresses this widespread and increasing care crisis. The institute employs a skilled team of clinicians and specialists across a variety of fields and offers neurosurgery, neurointerventional care, neurocritical care, neurology, spine care, pain management, sleep medicine, behavioral medicine, genetics, acute rehabilitation and physical, occupational and speech therapy services.

“The institute is unique in its patient-centered focus of determining what the patient needs and getting the patient to the source of that care; the right doctor in the right place at the right time,” Director Marla Shelby-Drabner said. “Our affiliated practices work closely together so that patients are being served with coordinated, efficient and effective care.”

The institute has a neurosurgery suite with enhanced imaging and instruments specially tailored for complex orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery. Institute patients are followed from their initial treatment through any procedures, care in the hospital, care in the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and post-discharge outpatient services. Staff encourage healthy lifestyles, use of the DRMC LiVe Well Center and track the patients and their functional progress for a full year after surgical treatment.

“This is a new concept across the country,” Shelby-Drabner said. “We are one of few locations using this integrated patient care model. “

In late 2012, DRMC announced the start of an ongoing expansion of the institute by welcoming the first neurosurgeons in Southern Utah, Dr. Chad Douglas Cole and Dr. Benjamin D. Fox, along with interventional pain specialist Dr. Derek Freiden. Cole and Fox practiced at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine, respectively, while Freiden worked for Intermountain Healthcare in central Utah.

Along with physiatrist Dr. Viane Vroenen, who will join the institute in July, Cole, Fox, Freiden and the institute will play a key role in advancing DRMC towards its goal of evolving from a Level III (offering some resources for emergency resuscitation, surgery and intensive care of most trauma patients) to a Level II (offering 24-hour availability of all essential specialties, personnel and equipment of comprehensive trauma care) trauma center.

This fall, the institute will acquire a “bi-plane,” a digital imaging system that uses X-ray technology to create a three-dimensional image that will help surgeons locate blockages and aneurysms in the brain and determine the best route of care for both interventional and non-invasive care patients. This cutting-edge equipment, which Shelby-Drabner said is “truly lifesaving,” will cost over a million dollars.

“What we are today is the foundation of what will continue to grow as we bring on other providers,” Shelby-Drabner said. “This is the future.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, January 23, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, January 23, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News


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