Hundreds of area residents, officials and lawmakers turned up Sunday afternoon for the grand opening of the new emergency care facility at WCA Hospital.
The facility, which was recently completed, is a welcome upgrade to what has been recognized as one of the busiest emergency departments in the region, serving more than 37,000 patients annually. One of the most impressive features that has been worked into the new emergency department are the 28 high-tech, private patient treatment rooms, which will allow for increased access to emergency care for anyone in need.
Dr. Lillian Ney, chair of the Sharing the Gift of Health campaign, was one of the speakers at Sunday's grand opening.
WCA?Hospital doctors, board members and several public officials are pictured before opening the hospital’s new Emergency Department to the public on Sunday.
P-J?photo by Ryan Atkins
A crowd of people make their way through the new Emergency Department at WCA?Hospital during a public open house on Sunday.
P-J?photo by Ryan Atkins
"I want to thank everyone that helped to make this possible," said Ney. "This is the kind of thing that doesn't just happen overnight and everyone should be proud of this accomplishment. We were able to fundraise a large portion of the money that we needed to complete this renovation, but we'll be continuing the campaign to raise money throughout the next year as well."
The new Emergency Department offers patients and their families several features meant to make their visit quicker and as efficient as possible. Beyond the lobby are 28 areas that can be used for any type of emergency. The old Emergency Department has only 22 rooms. According to Lindquist, several of the old Emergency Department rooms do not meet the full needs for every emergency.
Each of the rooms in the Emergency Department will be complete with computers, a heart monitor, a stretcher, chairs for visitors and a television donated by DFT Communications. Additionally, the rooms contain a sink, linen hamper areas, gloves and waterless hand soap pumps at each door. Each room also contains a cart filled with supplies.
Dr. William Geary, president of the medical staff at WCA Hospital, has been waiting for these upgrades to the facility for some time now.
"My staff here are some of the most talented, hardest working individuals I've met," said Geary. "I anticipated a time when their arena could be equal to their efforts."
Mayor Sam Teresi also had a chance to speak to the crowd before the doors officially opened.
"I would like to extend my thanks to all those who made this dream come true," said Teresi. "Let's never lose sight of why we're here though. The health and wellbeing of our community is what will continue to allow us to be great."
Following the speeches, visitors were invited in to the facility to take a self-guided walking tour through the new emergency department. For the children in attendance, there was a Wii station where they could play games, a balloon artist, face painting and more. The hospital also had refreshments available for all of the visitors and staff was available to answer any questions.
To date, WCA has surpassed the 88 percent mark by securing $14.5 million toward the $16.5 million capital campaign goal and is accepting gifts and pledges payable through 2013. To make a gift to support Sharing the Gift of Health: The Capital Campaign for Our Emergency Department, please contact Karl Sisson at 664-8423 or visit www.wcahospital.org.