A new, state-of-the-art Emergency Room was unveiled to the public on Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital with tours, music, food, speeches and hundreds of people on hand. This is the first to open of the many facilities that have been and are under construction on the entire site that fills the city block between Wilshire Boulevard and Arizona Avenue and between 15th and 16th streets.
As of its operational opening next Wednesday, July 25, the new Nethercutt Emergency Center will be receiving patients at its 15th Street entrance just north of Arizona, and emergency patients will no longer be received at the old ER on 16th Street.
Physicians, hospital employees and hospital leadership joined with emergency “first responders” from the Santa Monica Fire Department and SMPD to welcome the community at the July 15 open house event. The new ER will serve the Westside community and beyond, and features new life-saving, top-of-the-line technology in much larger, more comfortable rooms to provide even better care to patients.
“Given that so many other emergency rooms across the country and especially here in Los Angeles have been forced to shut down, we’re very proud to be opening this new facility,” said Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of Nethercutt Emergency Center. “This is truly the ER of the future – and it will set a new standard for emergency medicine in West Los Angeles.”
The 16,000-square-foot ER (replacing a 7,000-square-foot facility) contains several innovative features that will enable Santa Monica-UCLA to better meet the needs of the nearly 30,000 patients who annually seek emergency care at the hospital. The facility is equipped with an onsite 64-slice CT Scanner that “generates better, faster images while exposing patients to less radiation,” according to the medical center. “In doing so, it enables more rapid diagnosis of conditions such as chest pain, stroke and breathing disorders.” Additional features include digital X-ray technology, state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, decontamination showers, isolation rooms and an automated medication dispensing system.
The center will open simultaneously with a new, 9,000-square-foot laboratory in the basement beneath the ER, featuring the latest chemistry, hematology and blood bank analyzers. The two facilities will be linked by a pneumatic tube system that should result in faster turnaround times for lab results and, ultimately, better service.
The ER is located on the ground level of the “Southwest Wing” of the new complex under development. Upstairs in that wing and awaiting only interior finishing are a new Birthing Center, which includes a 16-bassinet Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, due to open this fall on the second level; a surgical recovery room and inpatient units, due to open next year on the third level; and a dedicated oncology unit due to open this fall on the fourth level.
Construction will now begin on the Central Wing, which will connect all of the buildings that will comprise the new medical center. Officials expect the rest of the new hospital, including the Orthopaedic, North and Central wings, to be completed in 2010. Final project completion will occur in 2011, following demolition of the existing 9-story Tower building on 15th Street, site improvements and construction of a grand stairway where the existing and renovated Merle Norman Pavilion and the new Central and Southwest wings meet.
“Every patient who comes to us deserves the best,” said Dr. David Feinberg, CEO of UCLA Hospital System and interim associate vice chancellor. “And every one of them, when they leave us, should be an ambassador to tell others about the great care and service they received at our new Nethercutt Emergency Center.”
The entire new Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, including the Southwest Wing housing the Nethercutt ER, was designed by prominent New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, who is dean of the Yale School of Architecture, in conjunction with CO Architects (formerly Anshen + Allen Los Angeles). The design features a modified Northern Italian architectural style similar to original buildings on the UCLA campus. Envisioned as a patient and family-focused environment, the new facility will emphasize daylight and views to outdoor gardens. More than 25 percent of the new medical campus will be devoted to green and open spaces.