Meeting of the Rotary Club of Eureka
June 18, 2012
Rev. Matt Messner led the invocation and there was no pledge, presumably because no flag was to be found in the crowded Conference Center Room at St. Joseph Hospital.
While we were busy wolfing down tasty sandwiches, Paul McGinty, our host for the day, welcomed us to St. Joseph Hospital. He reminded us that the $13 million dollars raised from our local community the past 6 years helped us make a $26 million dollar down payment on the hospital reconstruction project, often referred to as “The Tower.” The chief motivation for the project is the 1991 earthquake mandate that says hospitals must be able to withstand an 8.0 magnitude quake.
John Goossens, Director of Construction Services, introduced himself to the club and after chiding Paul for making excuses, proceeded to make excuses for the tardy completion of “The Tower.” He nevertheless is hopeful that it will be stocked and staffed by August, and ready to be licensed and open by this November.
Club member Christian Hill, who is with St. Joseph Area Development Offices, introduced himself as our third tour guide. So we split into three groups and set off on our tour of The Tower at St. Joe’s, following Paul, John or Christian. For my self, I chose ‘Christian’ as our guide since we were touring a Catholic hospital, even though 'Paul' and 'John' are also Biblical names.
First we entered the new Emergency Room (ER). Christian emphasized that it is three times larger than the current ER, which seems a good idea given the amount of crowding one can experience in the old ER. Our guide was also quick to point out that every effort was made to divest the new Tower of a sterile, antiseptic look. It appeared more like a nice hotel than a hospital to this reporter. The large number of trauma rooms were impressive as well as aesthetically pleasing. The new rooms feature some mind boggling hi tech medical equipment including a negative air flow room and cardiac cath lab machines that are state of the art. The heart care unit looks very impressive and intends to make our hospital an inviting cardiac unity for northern California.
St. Joe’s currently is licensed for 146 beds and Redwood Memorial for about 25 beds. We next came to the new main entrance; again the term “nothing sterile” aptly described the look. The large amounts of light streaming in from almost every angle created an inviting atmosphere.
There were large monitors in every unit: reminding us of an airport terminal. This should help people to locate their patient. Questions were raised about HIPAA compliance in light of these ubiquitous monitors. Christian went into a lengthy lecture on the importance of HIPAA.
|Outdoor themed light panels above the beds bring light and the natural element inside.|
Next we toured some of the 8 rooms in the surgery center: again filled with state of the art equipment from floor to ceiling—but mostly Skytron ceiling by design. While the total number of surgery suites will be about the same as currently in operation, they will be much more technologically advance once the new unit opens.
Speaking of hi-tech: Christian mentioned the DaVinci unit that enhances the view for the surgeons and thus their accuracy for surgical procedures. He added that it could also save the surgeon’s back and thus prolong one’s surgical career. We next viewed more operating rooms, including a urology operating room.
The Progressive Care Unit will have 40 beds in 20 rooms. Better monitoring in the new units will process patients more efficiently.
Certain plaques recognized major donors to the hospital as we made the tour. Not all were business barons, some were ordinary people who used the resources they had to make a difference.
Saint Joseph Hospital and the sisters of Orange are celebrating 100 years of service that began in our community before World War I. It employs 1200 people in our county alone and includes some 14 hospitals across the country. With our support we can only hope that they will continue to serve our communities for another 100 years and more.