ER moves into temporary building

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The emergency department at King’s Daughters Medical Center ismoving out late Wednesday night and settling into a pair oftemporary modular units.

KDMC CEO Alvin Hoover said the move is being made in order tomaintain a clean, efficient environment while construction on thehospital’s new emergency department – part of an overall $12million, multi-year upgrade – is carried out over the next severalmonths. The new, 20-bed emergency department is scheduled forcompletion on Nov. 30, and the ED will remain in the modularsthroughout the summer and into December when the new facility isready.

“If we had stayed in the old department while we renovate, theenvironment and working conditions would have really been strained,and the renovation would take about twice as long to complete,” hesaid.

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Thus, KDMC staff will begin moving medical equipment andsupplies into the two modular units beginning late Wednesday nightin preparation to have the ED completely moved out by 5 a.m.Thursday. Emergency Medical Services Director Terry Singleton saidonce the department is moved, operations will continue normally inthe modulars.

“They’re both professionally designed and built as medicalbuildings – they’re not like mobile homes or trailers,” hesaid.

Singleton said the two modulars – which are joined together andto the now-nearby radiology department by air-conditioned hallways- will accommodate every procedure needed in the normal emergencydepartment. The combined modulars have 11 rooms, the same number asthe old ED, and include safety features such as fireproof material,wider doors and the ability to run completely on emergencypower.

“We haven’t lost any capacity, and the modulars are laid outwhere the patient flow is improved – we’re actually closer tosurgery and radiology,” Singleton said. “All the cardiac monitorscan be wired into the modulars, we have wheelchair-accessiblebathrooms, the whole nine yards – just like any other ER.”

Singleton said KDMC staff and contractors have been workingalmost non-stop to ready the modulars for operation, installingplumbing, electrical wiring and communications. The incompletemodulars have even undergone health department inspection.

Chief Nursing Officer Merlene Myrick said ER patients willreceive the same level of treatment in the modulars as in the olddepartment.

“As far as nursing care, I foresee no problems,” she said. “Wewill continue to provide outstanding nursing care, and now we’reconnected right to the radiology department – things will befaster.”

The only change patients need to be aware of is the location ofthe modulars, which are located in a parking lot on the south endof the hospital. They can be accessed directly by turning into thefirst road directly south of Biglane Drive, the hospital’s mainentrance. Hospital staff will place new signs at the entrance, andparking spaces for emergency patients will be reserved.

“They will come into the front entrance of the modular and willbe triaged, registered and treated as normal,” Myrick said.”Patients will not have to do anything different than they do rightnow except turn into a different street. It will actually be easierto get to the emergency department in the modular buildings than itis right now.”