Community gets a preview of new emergency center

With just weeks to go before the opening of its new emergency room, Beaufort Memorial Hospital offered area residents a sneak preview of the $14.5 million facility.

Guests were invited to take self-guided tours of the facility during a community open house held Dec. 16.

BMH President & CEO Rick Toomey welcomes hospital staff to the new Pratt Emergency Center. BMH staff were the first to get a look at the new $14.5 million dollar facility which is scheduled to open in early January.

Earlier in the week, the hospital staff got the first look at the facility. At that time, a new private family consultation room was dedicated in honor of Beaufort Memorial employees who donated almost $1 million toward the Emergency Center’s construction.

At 20,500 square feet, the Pratt Emergency Center is more than double the size of the former emergency department and features 26 private treatment rooms, two trauma rooms, expanded reception and triage areas, an automated check-in kiosk and a special waiting area for patients with minor ailments or injuries.

“The staff of the emergency room worked extensively with the architects and our consultants to design a state-of-the-art ER,” said Beaufort Memorial Hospital President and CEO Rick Toomey. “We wanted to make it efficient, but at the same time welcoming.”

The extensive renovation also included major upgrades to the hospital’s infrastructure, space for the future expansion of the Intensive Care Unit and decontamination areas to treat patients exposed to toxic materials.

More than three years in the making, the expansion and renovation was funded in part by donations from the community and the employees of the hospital. A $1.5-million dollar gift made by Beaufort philanthropist Dr. Bruce Pratt in honor of his parents provided the start-up money for the ambitious project. Last year, the hospital renamed the ER the Dr. George N. Pratt and Sarah Meyer Pratt Emergency Center.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation raised another $635,000 from ticket sales to its annual Valentine Ball.

Scheduled to open in early January, the Pratt Emergency Center will increase capacity from 24 to 45 patients, helping the hospital meet the growing demand for emergency medical services in the greater Beaufort area. BMH emergency room visits total nearly 40,000 annually.

“From the start, our goal was to make sure the community had a place where they can go and be seen quickly and efficiently with quality care to match the hospital’s other services,” said Emergency Department Assistant Director Ashley Hildreth. “One of the most important things that patients will enjoy is that all of our rooms are now private.”

The treatment rooms feature large doors that can be retracted to provide wide access to move patients in and out comfortably. Designed with the healing arts in mind, the rooms also are equipped with dimming LED lighting, offering a more soothing environment especially important to patients with migraines or head injuries.

Work stations for nurses and physicians have been centrally located with open views of all patient rooms for visual monitoring and quick access.

For patients not requiring beds, a separate area with comfortable chairs has been provided where they can wait for test results or discharge instructions.

As part of the renovation, major upgrades also were made to the hospital’s infrastructure. The cooling system, vital to the operation of the ER’s cutting-edge equipment and technology, was beefed up and three 800-kilowat generator sets were installed in a new power house, making the hospital 100 percent self-sufficient in the event of a power outage.

To learn more about the Pratt Emergency Center, visit www.bmhsc.org.

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