Carroll County General Hospital's new emergency room will "go live" at 4 a.m. Monday.
That's medical parlance for the opening of the first phase of the hospital's expanded emergency department.
Hospital staff say the new emergency department provides additional space and privacy for patients.
"Those are the two things we're sorely lacking in the existing facility," said Dr. Michael Stang, director of emergency medicine at Carroll County General.
The new emergency room features separate treatment areas for cardiac and trauma patients.
Other rooms will accommodate obstetrics and gynecological patients and pediatric and psychiatric admissions.
"Every room can be used for anything, but the design [of the new emergency room] sets us up to meet the needs of specialty patients more effectively," said Becki Vasse, director of cardiopulmonary, critical care and emergency services at the hospital.
Once the new emergency room opens, renovation will begin on the old emergency room. When the work is complete, the hospital will have nearly tripled the size of its emergency department and increased the number of beds from 12 to 21.
Phase two of the emergency room expansion is scheduled for February.
The cost of both phases will total $1.8 million, including a $700,000 state grant. The remaining $1.1 million was a gift from the Carroll County General Hospital Foundation, the hospital's fund-raising arm.
The anchor of the new emergency room is a large central nursing station, adjacent to the treatment areas for cardiac and trauma patients.
Nurses working at the station will be able to monitor patients in the eight-bed cardiac unit, and video cameras at the station will allow nurses to monitor patients in the psychiatric unit.
One of the most important features of the new emergency room is a private room for critical-care patients.
"This is the room where you take the most unstable patients -- the ones at risk for loss of life or limb," Dr. Stang said.
In the existing emergency room, it was difficult to take these patients to treatment areas without other patients or visitors seeing them, Dr. Stang said.
"Here, [in the new emergency room] we're able to isolate the patients and give them the privacy they need," he said.
Another new feature is a room designed to treat patients who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals.
It has an outside entrance so there is no chance of exposing other emergency room patients to contamination, Dr. Stang said.
Decorated in soothing tones of rose and teal, the new emergency room features several small touches that make it a considerably more pleasant place than the older emergency department.
For example, the pediatrics room has a wallpaper border of teddy bears and mock bear paw prints on the ceiling. And the obstetrics/gynecology room has a private bathroom so pregnant patients won't have to use a bathroom down the hall.
"It doesn't look like an emergency room," Mrs. Vasse said. "Even in the most technical room, there's some relief from the jTC antiseptic-ness of a hospital."
Carroll County General is inviting the community to a preview of the new emergency room from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Emergency room staff, rescue workers, firefighters and police officers will attend the celebration.
Activities for adults and children, musical entertainment and refreshments are planned.
& Information: 857-6979.