By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Respiratory therapist Deb Owen could not, and did not want to hide the happiness she felt as she enjoyed the public preview of the opening of Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center’s $30 million state-of-the art emergency room.
“I’ve been waiting 30 years,” Owen said as she and Darlene Gareri, head of the hospital’s catheter lab, were set to enter a large inflatable heart that gave grand opening goers a look into the workings of the human heart. (Pictured, second photo)
“I’m thrilled and the new ER is stunning—it’s beautiful,” Owen said.
On Saturday, Oct. 15 hundreds of doctors, nurses, therapists, staff and residents joined Good Samaritan for public tours of the new ER and also had the opportunity to have footballs, hats, and T-shirts signed by New England Patriots 3-time Pro Bowler Matt Light.
The new ER does not open for services until Wednesday, Oct. 19.
During brief comments, Light said the new facility is an important addition to the community, and has learned how fantastic area medical services are after having to confront his son’s rare heart disease.
“We are very lucky to have the health care we have here in New England,” Light said.
(Pictured, top with from left, Dr. Richard Herman, Mary Richardson and hospital head Jeffrey Liebman)
Nicole St. Laurent, 11 of Lakeville and friend Anne Pearce, 12, of Mansfield—both students at Taunton Catholic Memorial School stopped in at the celebration after running in the Saturday road races held each week at D.W. Field Park where Pearce took first place and St. Laurent third in their age groups. (Pictured, third photo with EMT Jeffrey Kaplan)
Linda St. Laurent, Nicole’s mother, said they saw the celebration going on and decided to stop in and see what was happening.
“It’s a good opportunity for them to learn about medical services,” St. Laurent said. “It’s good exposure for them. It’s another way to learn,” she added.
Dr. Richard Herman, chairman of emergency medicine, who was excited for the new ER’s opening, said the new facility is wired and ready for future growth and will allow the hospital to handle 65,000 emergency visits a year.
“Saying it’s a big day for us is an understatement,” Herman said smiling from ear-to-ear. “This is an epic moment in health care for the region,” he said.
The old emergency room was built in 1968 and was state-of-the-art at the time, Herman said, but more than 40 years later the ER needed an overhaul to catch-up with technology, patient comfort and privacy.
He said the life span of an emergency room is about 20 to 25 years, and the old one served for more than 43.
The old ER’s capacity was about 25,000 visits per year, about half the 54,000 patients the ER has been handling for years.
“We had it in life support for the last 20 or so years,” Herman said.
The new facility is modern, spacious and bright and features cutting edge equipment, including a 64-slice CT scan machine and a new digital imaging area in the ER.
Before the new building, patients had to be shuffled to another end of the hospital for X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans. Now, instead, it is a short walk from room-to-room, and the new digital imaging suite uses no film—everything is computerized—and the CT scan and X-rays use a quarter of the radiation than older models—a key for patients who have to have those services, said X-ray Supervisor Chris Stillman. (Pictured, fourth photo)
A huge feature of the new ER are 42 private rooms for patients.
Before the new facility, patients were crammed together in rooms and beds were separated by a thin curtain.
Each room has televisions and chairs for the comfort of family and friends.
“Now you don’t have to listen to the conversation in the bed next to you,” Herman said.
There are also new psychiatric rooms, and a decontamination room, that officials said is the only one in New England, and while everyone hopes it will not be used too often—at least it is there.
“This is awesome,” said Councilor-at-large Robert Sullivan. “This is a good thing for Brockton and the entire region,” he said.