Hospital completes 121 special deliveries
Administrators, doctors, nurses and other staff members couldn’t help but smile Sunday when Woman’s Hospital completed its long-anticipated move of patients from its 43-year-old location to its fancy new digs about five miles south on Airline Highway.
Delana Heltz, 20, of Denham Springs, pregnant with her second child, was one of the 121 patients and infants who were taken by ambulance Sunday from the old facility on Goodwood Boulevard to the new, state-of-the-art campus near Airline Highway and Stumberg Lane.
She said the ride to the new hospital was as smooth as a newborn baby’s bottom.
“Everybody was helping each other,” she said. “There was no confusion.”
Hospital administrators and ambulance personnel had been planning the move for about two years, Woman’s Hospital CEO Teri Fontenot said. It originally had been planned for June but was delayed because the new building was not complete.
The move, when it finally arrived, went off without any major hitches, Fontenot said.
“As far as specific, patient care-related issues, there really was not anything that we weren’t able to take care of,” she said.
The hospital had carefully planned out its schedule of events for the month leading up to the move, Fontenot said. For example, the hospital stopped performing elective surgeries on Wednesday.
Some hospital staffers arrived as early as 4 a.m. Sunday for the 6 a.m. move, while others stayed at the hospital the night before, Fontenot said.
The staffers, wearing special “Move Day” T-shirts, hustled about the facility trying to coordinate every action.
Acadian Ambulance used 80 employees and 20 ambulances to accomplish the move, said Dan Lennie, vice president of operations for Acadian.
Ambulance personnel went to the patient and baby rooms, loaded them onto a stretcher or newborn transports, and transported them with no lights or sirens, Lennie said.
As ambulances arrived, patients were taken out of the vehicles in a slow, careful fashion. After a check-in at the door, they were moved to their new rooms.
“I think everybody we’ve transported so far came in with a smile on their face,” Lennie said Sunday morning.
The ambulances were tracked by GPS monitoring devices to make sure nobody got lost, said Tricia Johnson, senior vice president/chief nurse executive and the patient care chief Sunday.
The devices were then tracked on a giant video screen in a makeshift command center in a conference room in the new hospital.
Hospital staff members practiced for Sunday’s move with three mock patient moves, Johnson said.
The mock moves were timed so the staff could detail how long it took to move a patient from a bed in the old facility to a bed in the new facility, Johnson said.
“We did it with staff, not a dummy. People are harder to transport,” Johnson said.
The old facility officially closed shortly after 4 p.m. — after the last patient was moved out, Woman’s Hospital spokeswoman Amiee Goforth said.
The last baby born at the old campus was delivered at 12:54 p.m., and the first baby at the new campus was born at 1:23 p.m., Goforth said.
Fontenot, who has worked with Woman’s Hospital for more than 20 years, admitted the move is “bittersweet” because of the history left behind at the old campus.
A local doctor’s group called The Physicians Alliance Corp. has agreed to purchase the old facility. Fontenot declined to comment about specifics on what would happen to the old hospital and only said a final deal is “imminent.”
“There were 300,000 babies that were born at the other place, plus a lot of other patients who received care that were not obstetric patients,” she said. “It is the birthplace of Baton Rouge. It has a lot of sentiment for a lot of us.”