Former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. will help lead a fundraising effort for the University of Maryland Medical Center and its R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
On Thursday Ripken, the Hall-of-Famer who set a Major League record for consecutive games played, will be announced as honorary chairman of the fundraising campaign. He will head the effort with former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly, who will serve as chairman. Francis, a longtime friend of Ripken's, sits on the University of Maryland Medical System's board of directors.
"In Maryland, there are two names that are respected by just about everyone, and that would be Cal Ripken and Shock Trauma," Kelly said. "It's a great fit. I wouldn't ask Cal to be involved with anything that does not jive with his values, and this does."
Since 2001 Ripken's primary philanthropic interest has been the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, a family-run organization that operates baseball programs for youngsters and other initiatives in more than 40 states. According to Ripken spokesman John Maroon, it is "fairly rare" when Ripken gets involved in charitable campaigns outside his family foundation.
"When Frank asked me to help him on this campaign for Shock Trauma, I immediately said yes," Ripken said in a statement. "Frank is a great friend and Shock Trauma is a cornerstone of our community, and they do amazing work. If I can help raise awareness of their needs, I am honored to do so."
The fundraising effort is set to be announced Thursday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the nine-story trauma/critical care building, which is scheduled to open in 2013 at the northeast corner of Penn and Lombard streets.
One of the largest construction projects to get under way in Baltimore this year, the building will be the first major expansion of Shock Trauma since it opened in 1989 and will result in the creation of 300 construction jobs and hundreds more permanent jobs.
Kelly said construction of the original Shock Trauma building was paid for entirely with state funds, but that level of public funding was not possible for the expansion. He said the new project will be funded by a combination of sources, including medical center operating funds, federal funds, $50 million in state funds allocated over several years, and money from the capital campaign.
The new facility will be linked to the 21-year-old Shock Trama Center and the 7-year-old Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, which contains the medical center's emergency department and critical care beds. It is expected to significantly expand the medical center's renowned Shock Trauma Center, boost the capacity of the adult and pediatric emergency departments, and provide additional beds for intensive-care patients.
When complete, the building will provide 64 new and replacement beds for critical-care patients and 10 operating rooms, five new and five replacements. Seven of the operating rooms will be dedicated to Shock Trauma. The expansion also will provide a separate lobby and waiting area for Shock Trauma, a "healing garden" and a second rooftop helipad.
Administrators say the project is needed because demand for trauma, emergency and critical-care services is expected to increase, and some areas of the medical center already have reached maximum patient capacity. "Our Shock Trauma Center currently serves nearly 8,000 patients annually in a … building originally designed for 3,500 patients," said medical center president and chief executive Jeffrey A. Rivest.
In addition, administrators estimate that the medical center will handle nearly 80,000 emergency department visits a year by 2016, compared with nearly 64,000 visits in 2008.