COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - After years of planning and 16 months of construction, the new Emergency and Trauma Center at the Columbus Regional Medical Center is ready to start taking patients.
The new $25 million, 24,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility gives doctors and nurses three times the space to treat patients.
"They're trying to take care of patients right now in a facility that's just too small. It doesn't provide the privacy. You frequently don't have enough space to perform the procedures that you need with the number of people that you need to take care of the patients so I'll think you'll find that this is a better facility for physicians as well as the patients," said Dr. Drew Williams, who is the Medical Director for Emergency Services.
Gone are the days of being treated in open bays where patients are separated by a curtain or treated in the hallway. Everyone gets their own room in the new center.
On top of that, there are specialized sections, including OB/GYN rooms and a decontamination center in the event of a toxic chemical spill.
But the area doctors say is most important is the new trauma unit. It holds six beds for the critically ill and injured, including children.
"I can flow from room to room physically and I can also keep my eyes and ears on what's going on in the other rooms more efficiently," explained Doctor R. Scott Hannay, who is the Medical Director for Trauma services.
Hannay also pointed out that the CAT scan machine will be located right next to the trauma unit. Previously, it was at the other end of the building. He says it will be life-saving, especially for stroke patients.
"The Medical Center is one of only 16 trauma centers in the state of Georgia so we do have a very large responsibility for a significant geographic area around us and that includes pretty much a 60 miles radius around us, about 30 counties so a very significant responsibility we have to take care of about 1000 victims of traumatic injury per year," added Lance Duke, President and CEO of Columbus Regional.
The new Emergency Center will begin taking patients Thursday at 7 AM.
Renovations on the old center will begin next week.
It will turned into a pediatric section, conference rooms and lounges for nurses and doctors and security officers.