LOS ANGELES - A new era in pediatric and adolescent healthcare began last week at Children's Hospital Los Angeles when 191 inpatients were carefully moved into its new 317-bed, $636 million hospital building.After months of planning, more than 1,200 doctors, nurses and staff safely moved the patients - from the tiniest babies to teens battling cancer and heart disease - into what is described as "one of the nation's premier medical facilities for children." Approximately 250 new jobs will be created as a result of the new hospital. "For the past year, our entire hospital team has been planning the coordination and synchronization for this tremendous task of moving almost 200 patients in a short period of time," said Richard D. Cordova, president at CEO of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "Thanks to the excellent planning by our wonderful staff, every aspect of the move went smoothly. The only word that comes to mind to describe this achievement is 'proud' - but not for me, for our whole organization." Hospital staff planned the move down to the minute for each of the 191 patients. Starting at 7 a.m., doctors and nurses began rolling groups of patients down the hall, including babies in isolettes, patients hooked up to IVs and monitors, and parents walking alongside holding their child's stuffed animals. An average of one patient was moved every 2 1/2 minutes with all patients in their new rooms by 3:30 p.m. This all took place last weekend, when the 405 Freeway was closed. Hospital staff made arrangements in advance to stay close to the hospital or drive in early to work, but there was no direct impact on the patient moves, officials said. For patient Manny Hernandez Jr., age 10, from La Verne, move day was an exciting change of pace from his typical routine. Surrounded by cheers from nurses and staff, he was the first patient to move into the new hospital. "Children's Hospital is my second home. I know all the nurses and everyone here," said Manny, who has been in and out of the hospital all his life, most recently due to an intestinal illness. "It was really cool being the first patient in the new hospital. My new room is so much bigger and I love that when I look up, I see butterflies on the ceiling. And I heard I can play video games and watch movies on the computer by my bed." His father, Manny Sr., works for Rudolph and Sletten, Inc., the construction firm that built the new hospital. Manny's older sister had a heart transplant at the hospital a few years ago, so the family has strong ties to the facility. Manny Sr. even coordinated blood drives with the construction crew and donated his overtime pay from working on the project to the hospital as a thank you for the care provided to his children. The hospital project was initiated more than a decade ago when civic leaders and hospital administrators identified the need for a new hospital building. With the growth of Los Angeles and patients traveling from throughout the world to seek treatment at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, demand for services exceeded the current hospital capacity, officials said. The new hospital allows for increased access, expanded patient care services and the ability to recruit new physicians in key specialties. The new building is named the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion in honor of the local philanthropists who provided a $50 million gift to the project. The structure is seven stories tall and 460,000 square feet in size. Nearly all of the rooms are private. Interior building walls and patient rooms are painted in bright colors and feature murals, "beautiful" flooring, built-in daybeds for parents, and Internet access. Outside the building is a playground that is accessible to kids of all abilities. The hospital is also equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology, including pneumatic tube systems, real-time patient monitoring, and the GetWell Network, which allows patients in each room to order food, watch movies, surf the Web, follow their treatment and more via a touch-screen monitor from their bed. Additional ICU beds in the Anderson Pavilion make Children's Hospital Los Angeles one of the largest providers of pediatric intensive care services for children in California. The Emergency Department has 39 beds and four trauma beds, making it the largest emergency pediatric center in the western United States. "This is a truly remarkable and joyous day for all of us," said Cordova. "As a community we have designed and constructed the perfect building which is truly a work of art and certainly a precious jewel for the city of Los Angeles."
********** Published: July 21, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 14