VA Center opens new emergency room

June 20, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The first patient was treated this week at an expanded emergency room at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center that will allow it to handle anticipated growth in its number of outpatients.

The main benefits of the new facilities are updated equipment, more privacy and better security, according to Terry Glover, nurse manager of the emergency room.

In the old emergency room, there were only two open rooms with two beds, meaning anybody roaming the halls could look in and see the patients, Glover said.


Now one patient can be treated in each of the five upgraded rooms.

"It's a brighter environment," he said.

Glover said that all the emergency room equipment was updated, and it also acquired two new pieces of equipment. One will improve examinations for eye injuries. The other is a modern respirator that doesn't require a tube to be placed down a patient's throat.

The improvements originally were estimated at $650,000, but during the time it took to get approval the cost rose to $970,000, Glover said.

It took a year and a half to complete the construction on the new emergency room. On July 1, the center will begin renovating its old emergency room to expand capacity for ambulatory care.

"We want to have as many services for ambulatory care as we have space," Glover said. "That way patients don't have to go up and down between floors to get primary care. It will take at least a year, though it may be sooner."

Another advantage to the new emergency room is better access for patients and ambulances, Glover said. The old emergency room had only double doors for ambulances and patients had to park far away.

"The ambulance access always had people in the hallway and poor traffic control," Glover said. "Here they have a ramp and can get patients in and out of the weather quickly."

The patients now have a closer parking lot for emergencies, and even have a lounge with a television and a soda machine. Soon there also will be a snack machine.

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