Lawrence Memorial Hospital on Tuesday opened the doors to the new Simons Center for Emergency Medicine, the bright new addition that is part of a $50 million hospital expansion.
"It's a dream we've had for a number of years," Dr. Scott Robinson, emergency department medical director, said as he stood in the new 28,000-square-foot center.
The hospital conducted a ribbon cutting and open house for the department, which opens for patients March 6.
The new space addresses the needs of a growing emergency department, hospital leaders said. Emergency visits to LMH increased 19 percent between 2002 and 2007, when the department saw 33,671 patients.
"We've gotten busier and busier in our current emergency department," Robinson said. "We needed to expand not only to handle the increased volume, but to address such concerns as safety and privacy. We've done all of those things in this new 26-room, state-of-the-art emergency department."
The new space is roughly 8,000 square feet larger than the department it replaces. It includes 26 private patient rooms, two trauma rooms, and three nursing stations.
Dr. Brian Hunt, emergency physician, said the area improves patient comfort and privacy.
"Now every single patient has one room dedicated to them," Hunt said. "From an infectious disease point of view, that's an improved scenario. For patient confidentiality, it's an improved scenario. The patients are going to be a lot happier."
LMH President and CEO Gene Meyer said the addition cost an estimated $8 million to $9 million, including equipment. He said the Dolph Simons Jr. family, owners of The World Company and publisher of the Journal-World, contributed $1 million to the hospital expansion project.
"Their tremendous gift really qualified for a department to be named after them, and they chose the emergency department because it touched more of the community than probably any other area," said Meyer, who recognized the Simons family during the ceremony.
The hospital's growth spurt will continue. The ER sits on the first floor of a three-story, 80,000-square-foot east tower. An expanded intensive care cardiac center will occupy the second floor, with a third-floor maternity unit above it. New surgical facilities will be housed in the renovated site of the old emergency department.
"More great things to come," Meyer said.