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VA center set to open new emergency room

May 22, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Veteran Affairs Medical Center is getting ready to open a new emergency room for patients who are veterans.

The hospital's old emergency room area will be turned into additional space for outpatient service, said Doris R. Griffin, the VA's public affairs officer.

The new emergency room is expected to be operational in June, Griffin said.

The hospital will be holding holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the new emergency room.

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The move improves the emergency facility while at the same time allows the medical center to consolidate the outpatient services on the first floor, said Richard Pell Jr., medical center director.

The new emergency room was added onto the hospital's main building by taking away space from a parking lot, Griffin said.

The new emergency room addition allows the medical center to increase the privacy for the patients, Griffin said.

Currently, two patients may be treated in an emergency room with only a curtain dividing them, she said.

The new addition has private emergency treatment rooms, she said.

Each of the new treatment rooms will be stocked with equipment and supplies by the bedside so the staff will not have to leave the bedside while treating the patient, she said.

The emergency room security also has been improved by the addition with a separate entrance for ambulances and another for walk-in patients and visitors.

The new addition also has a larger waiting room for family members, she said.

The 4,000-square-foot addition was built at a cost of $925,000, Pell said.

It will be staffed by one registered nurse and one other health care provider, either a second registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, Griffin said.

A physician will be in the emergency room from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During other hours, the emergency room will be staffed by the house physician, she said.

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