Groundbreaking Milestone Brings New Emergency Department Closer to RealityMonths and months of planning reached a milestone as Southern Ocean Medical Center broke ground for its new emergency department on October 25. The new facility when completed in 2013 will more than triple the size of Southern Ocean's current ED. In addition to extensive renovations in the existing space, the ED will grow from 8,800 square feet to 29,000 square feet.
Meridian and Southern Ocean Medical Center leaders donned hard hats and lifted shovels to officially kick off the construction of the $20 million dollar expansion project. "Our new Emergency Department will be the largest building project in the history of the Medical Center and when it opens in 2013, emergency care for the Southern Ocean community will be raised to a new level, says president Joseph P. Coyle.
Expanded triage and fast track areas will help doctors and nurses provide better care and better service. "This project is going to improve the ED experience for patients and family members as well as for the doctors and nurses who deliver care here," says Adam Lazarus, M.D. chief of emergency medicine at Southern Ocean.
The new design features 42 larger private bays. Space has been designed just for behavioral health patients that will be discreet, separate, and secure. Children will get their own area, too, with a special family-friendly waiting area in the ED. And, a five-bed pediatric care center will provide top-quality care for pediatric emergencies and for children recovering from surgery, as well as routine medical issues.
Emergency Department patients Ruth Strong of Beach Haven and Bill Clanton of Manahawkin shared their testimonial experiences during the groundbreaking ceremonies. Strong recounted waking up one morning and felt as if she couldn't breathe, had difficulty walking and talking but managed to contact her son. With his quick action and the assistance of Beach Haven First Aid squad she was brought to at the Southern Ocean Medical Center emergency department. "It was pretty scary," says Ruth. "I was in pretty bad straits and I feel they saved my life."
In 2010, more than 40,000 patients visited the ED at Southern Ocean - more than double the number the current facility is designed to support. "Research trends show that by 2014 the number of ED patients will increase to 46,000 and by the year 2020 that number will shoot to 55,000," says Joe Coyle, president. "This new facility will truly be amazing and will transform the way emergency care is delivered at Southern Ocean."