New Baptist Hospital emergency department grand opening Friday

Baptist Memorial Hospital officials are welcoming the public to view the community’s new $12 million emergency medical department this Friday.

A formal ribbon-cutting will be held at 10 a.m. July 18. Some of those involved in the project will make brief comments, the ribbon will be cut and tours and refreshments will then be provided. The event will be from 10 to 11:30.

Parking for the new ER and its entrance are only accessible from Oxford Road but new lighted directional signs are in place at key intersections around the hospital to direct those to the facility. The new parking area can accommodate about 25 cars instead of the present few.

The new emergency department will have triple the number of treatment rooms in the present ER and patients will immediately go through triage upon entering. They will be taken to a room depending on the type and level of care needed and the admission and medical history paperwork will all be done in the treatment room. Patient rooms are arranged in a ring around a central core nurses’ station. There are also major trauma rooms, a decontamination room, more patient restrooms and the new ER will house the new 64-slice CT scanner.

X-rays can be taken in the rooms, there will be a lounge area for patients waiting on test results, and a pneumatic system will speed patient information, test samples and even medication between the main hospital and the ER. The building also has more space for physicians and other staff to rest who may be working 24-hour shifts.

A new five-bay ambulance garage is near the new building, replacing the current situation in which only two of the vehicles can be parked inside and one under the ER canopy.

The new department is expected to go into service at 6 a.m. Monday, July 21. Anyone entering at 5:59 will go to the present ER while someone who comes in at 6:01 will go to the new department.

Work was begun on the new building this past June with Flinto as general contractor.