A new $45 million dollar emergency and trauma center opened at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield this morning. The state of the art facility will treat critically injured and ill people from throughout western Massachusetts. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
The new emergency department at Baystate Medical Center’s main campus in Springfield’s North End was opened to receive patients beginning at 7:30 Monday morning. The new facility is 72,000 square feet, 55,000 square feet larger than the old emergency room.
Dr. Reginald Alouidor, a trauma surgeon at Baystate, said the old emergency room was built in the 1980s and designed to handle 60,000 patients a year. Last year, the emergency room received 114,000 patients.
The new emergency center has three trauma rooms, each big enough to treat two patients at a time. There is a separate pediatric emergency room, and a unit to care for people with mental health problems. There are 94 patient care rooms, double the number in the old emergency room, according to Ann Maynard, the Director of Emergency Services at Baystate.
There are 18 treatment rooms in the children’s emergency center. Maynard says Baystate sees about 22,000 pediatric patients a year.
It is easier to get emergency patients into the new emergency center. There are ten ambulance bays for the new facility, versus three in the old one. Also the new emergency center comes with an express elevator to a new roof top helipad. Dr. Niels Rathlev, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Baystate said until today air ambulances landed in a parking lot, and traffic had to be stopped to transport patients from the helicopter to the emergency room.
As the only level one trauma center in the region, Baystate treats critically injured and ill people from throughout western Massachusetts.
Before opening to the public for real Monday morning, the staff at Baystate did a series of simulations.
In this simulation, last week, two car accident victims were brought by ambulance to the new emergency center’s trauma rooms.
Dr. Alouidor, the trauma surgeon explained the staff worked on a medical mannequin whose vital signs plunged during treatment.
The drill helped the doctors and nurses get familiar with the new surroundings.
Baystate is adding 19 new staff members to the emergency department to get the nurse to patient ratio at one to four, down from one to six now. The new emergency center is part of an almost $300 million dollar expansion of the hospital. A new wing, which features a heart and vascular center opened last Spring.