What It Takes to Open a New Hospital
I recently visited the front lines of our new Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, which will be the most advanced center for heart care on the West Coast when it opens in early March.
On this day, the front line was made up of several hundred physicians, nurses, technologists and facility workers who were participating in our second “day in the life” event.
This morning-long exercise was an opportunity for our staff to become more familiar with the space they’ll be calling home soon. It was also a chance to identify and work out the inevitable bugs that linger after nearly four years of constructing an extremely complex, 383,000-square-foot, $456 million hospital.
Groups of workers fanned throughout the building’s seven floors and acted their way through a wide range of real-life scenarios.
In one, a volunteer playing the role of a patient suffering chest pain was wheeled from the emergency room in the adjacent Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla to a second-floor catheterization laboratory in the institute. Once there, the story line called for him to suffer cardiac arrest before doctors had a chance to start a stent procedure to open a blocked artery.
Some observations by participants were routine: Was the crash cart’s electrical cord long enough to reach around both sides of the surgical table?
Other questions touched more directly on the building’s life-saving mission: How long did it take for the rapid response team to arrive after a Code Blue was called? Did hallway signs point the team in the right direction or did they slow them down?
You don’t just walk into a newly built hospital and start caring for patients. Opening a facility like this takes months of hard work, testing and preparation by hundreds, if not thousands, of dedicated staffers.
I couldn’t help but beam with pride and excitement as I watched the “day in the life” crews stream into the institute. They and other Scripps Health staffers will provide leading-edge care in this building to the San Diego community for generations to come.
Along the way, they will comfort family members, they will make important discoveries that advance heart care, and they will save many lives.
I can’t wait to get started!