Reporting Suzanne Le Mignot
For more trusted health
news and information,
visit CBS Chicago's
UPDATED 12/08/11 6:15 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s billed as one of the most advanced hospitals in the nation. Officials cut the ribbon on a new 14-story building at Rush University Medical Center on Thursday.
CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot reports on what sets the hospital apart.
The new hospital features an emergency room with a decontamination center – complete with decontamination showers and an enclosed ambulance bay for potentially contaminated patients – that makes Rush the only bioterrorism preparedness center in the nation.
“We can do a lot of biological emergencies, as well as any kind of chemical emergencies and this ambulance bay actually can decontaminate patients and mass casualties,” said Patricia Altman, a registered nurse at Rush.
It’s just one of the areas in “The Tower” – as the new building is called – at the new 14-story hospital. Officially opening in January, Rush’s new facility cost 654 million to construct.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
“The operating rooms here are actually almost double the size of our current operating rooms,” said Dr. Jonathan Myers. “The lights we have, these are the state of the art LED lights … for the operating field, it does not get hot, does not create more stress on the surgeon.
The new operating rooms also feature several flat-screen monitors that can be used to assist in various surgeries, such as laparoscopic procedures.
“In general, we have the ability to put whatever images we want on whatever monitor we want,” Myers said. “I can put X-Ray images. I have real-time ability to talk to other departments, like our pathology department.”
In patient rooms, every detail was thought out, like seamless sinks.
Registered Nurse Mary Alice Lavin said, “Water can collect at the seams and that’s a great place for bacteria to multiply and to grow.”
The building also includes an advanced imaging center for such procedures as MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds.
From the outside, observers will quickly notice that the top five floors of The Tower have a kind of butterfly shape. Rush chief executive officer Dr. Larry Goodman says that’s not just for aesthetics.
“The shape is from our nurses. They looked at distances walked and sightlines,” he said. “You can see down both hallways, as you can notice here, no longer one single nursing station because of electronic records.”
Tunnels have also been constructed under Harrison Street for an easy means of transporting supplies.
“Today, supplies are being delivered by automated guided vehicles – essentially robots – that deliver supplies today to the current hospital, and will have their own elevators in the new hospital,” Goodman said.
The plan has also involved the renovation of some existing buildings, and the demolition of numbers buildings that have been deemed obsolete. The first, the Marshall Field IV building, which housed the Rush Day School program, came down three years ago. Now, several others are slated for the wrecking ball, including the Murdock and Jones buildings, which house the current emergency room, and the Rawson and Senn buildings, which house the outpatient psychiatric unit.
While some of the buildings are historic — the Jones building dates from 1888 — preservationists have expressed little interest in saving them.
The new hospital in The Tower was paid for through things like debt financing, corporate and government grants, along with private donations.
Patients are set to start moving in next month.