Bradenton hospitals offer top care close to home

>> Manatee Memorial Hospital's new patient tower. BRIAN BLANCO/bblanco@bradenton.com

>> The new Lakewood Ranch Medical office building at the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. GRANT JEFFERIES/gjefferies@bradenton.com State of the art is the operative phrase to describe hospitals serving the Bradenton area. Manatee Memorial Hospital's new 4-story, curved-glass patient tower offers private rooms with sweeping views, Internet connections and flat-screen TVs equipped with 90 cable channels. The new 156,000-square-foot addition doubles the size of the old hospital, built in the 1950s. The tower's design is the latest in hospital design to maximize infection control and treatment options. A 319-bed acute-care facility, Manatee Memorial, at 206 Second St. E., is owned and operated by subsidiary of Universal Health Services Inc. and has the county's only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Manatee Memorial also offers hope for infertile couples through a partnership with the University of South Florida IVF & Reproductive Endo-crinology Center. Until recently, infertile couples had to travel to Tampa for advanced infertility treatments and counseling. Now USF fertility specialists offer treatment options, and counseling is available close to home at Manatee Memorial. Lakewood Ranch Med-ical Center, the area's newest hospital, is part of the Manatee Memorial Health System. Opened in 2004, the Ranch Medical Center at 8330 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard sits on a 30-acre medical campus and is located just a few miles from Interstate 75. The hospital offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services including a modern, bright obstetrics unit and cardiovascular imaging lab. In a recent national patient survey, the Ranch Medical Center was rated the best hospital in Manatee and Sarasota counties. When it comes to getting new knees or new hips, Blake Medical Center, at 2020 59th St. W., has the county's one Joint Care Center, offering the latest treatment and rehabilitation options. Designed more as a resort than a hospital, Blake's Joint Care Center has an Internet cafe and flat-screen TVs in every room to make patients comfortable after orthopedic surgery. Blake also recently installed a 64-slice CT scanner, which allows doctors to examine detailed three-dimensional images of organs of the body. In January, Blake began performing heart scans that can detect symptoms of early heart disease that standard diagnostic tests can miss. Blake's Heart Institute has a new surgical center featuring two specially designed and equipped operating suites, a 10-bed Cardiac Surgical Recovery Unit and an Intensive Care Unit. No one wants to be sick, but if the need for hospitalization occurs, Bradenton's three hospitals are not only ready to serve but can match the level of care found in much larger metropolitan areas.