Relocating more than 120 patients from an 80-year old hospital to an updated, safer one in the span of a few hours is no easy task. Just ask Mercy Medical Center's chief of staff Rob Streeter. "We have had a great team. All of the folks coming in to help with this as well as our own employees," he said.
Merced ambulance companies as well as those from Madera and Fresno assisted in the move.
Police controlled the flow of traffic to make for a safe transition to what is now the tallest structure in Merced, Mercy Medical Center.
This 7-story building cost more than $260 million to construct and now houses 190 rooms, most of them private. Inside patients will find some of the latest medical technology.
"We're geared up for creature comforts. Our service lines are still the same. We're hoping to build and like you said attract new physicians and new services into the community," said Dr. Carl Valenti, director of the E.R.
The E.R. is now roughly 3-times larger than at the old Mercy hospital. Valenti said doctors and nurses will be working with brand new imaging equipment and maternity ward.
And this heli-pad is a first for the city of Merced. Now if patients need care outside of the hospital, they can be rushed to Fresno or Modesto all within 10 minutes.
Marisela Bettancourt was one of the last patients transported. She's waiting for gall bladder surgery but for now is enjoying her new amenities. "I like the privacy, the view, the beds are comfortable," she said.
The hospital has already added 50 new jobs to the community. With the hope of a future medical school at U.C. Merced hospital officials plan to make Mercy the premier destination for health care.