FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Tuesday afternoon, McLeod Health staff celebrated the start of construction for their new $90 million emergency department with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Every year, Senior Vice President Marie Saleeby said the current emergency department sees around 80,000 visits. Saleeby said McLeod Regional Health is Level II trauma center, treating neighboring communities. With the growth of the region, that number continues to grow.
"As the Pee Dee grows, then the need for good healthcare grows too," Saleeby said. "Sometimes it's lack of access to other kinds of care - often times it's people passing through our community who find themselves sick or in an accident."
Saleeby said the current building is a part of the original McLeod campus dating back to the 70s, able to treat 50,000 patients a year. Now outgrown and outdated, the department needs more space.
"While we've been able to expand some in places taking up adjacent spaces, doing some modernization, we're now at a place where we truly more square footage," Saleeby said.
The new center across from the McLeod Pavilion Tower will have 73 rooms designed to serve more than 100,000 patients. The rooms will be larger to accommodate family members.
Inside will be state-of the art life-saving equipment critical to the department's patients.
"These are the patients that promptness of care directly translates into outcome, so we'll be able to care for those patients in a unprecedented way here at McLeod," Director of Emergency Services Jeremy Robertson said .
Dr. Robertson said the new facility will also help the employees who serve those patients day in and day out. Employees will now have access to five large resuscitation areas with quicker access to ambulance bays, a CT scanner and operating rooms.
"It will allow us to do that so much more rapidly... with better outcomes. It'll be better experience for the patient," Dr. Robertson said.
"We have a so much better chance of helping somebody survive a heart attack or recover from a stroke or to deliver a baby safely," Saleeby said.
Dr. Robertson said while the employees have done the best they've can with the current space, ultimately the new emergency department will give employees a better chance at saving lives.
"It's finally the culmination of all the hard work to be so close to a new space that will allow us to have plenty of capacity to care for those patients that need us," Dr. Robertson said.
Saleeby said the new department will take 2 and a half to 3 years to complete.