Fri, 2016-02-12 05:00 News Staff
New medical center prepares for opening on Fort Hood
By CHUCK TAYLOR
The new Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center conducted an arduous dress rehearsal on Saturday in order to identify any problems with the facility and correct them before their official opening on April 3.
Hundreds of volunteer patients spent the day acting out various scenarios that the medical center might encounter on any given day. There were trauma victims, emergency deliveries in Maternity and even a would-be baby kidnapper.
As the rehearsal continued, it was apparent that some bugs needed to be worked out. Automatic doors failed to open, various supply carts were not fully stocked and there was a certain amount of confusion as to how to get from one point to another.
However, Col. Mark Thompson, the Medical Center Commander, was pleased with the entire exercise. He said that this type of “dress rehearsal” was a perfect way to discover problems before they became serious and devise ways to ensure a smooth flow of service to the patient.
Thompson said the hospital has a capacity for 145 beds, although they anticipate only having 98 available as they open for business. The medical center will have a staff of between 3,500 and 3,800. Most of them rotate in and out every two to three years. Thompson spoke of an innovative idea which helped staff find their way around the hospital quickly. The staff ordered a scavenger hunt for the working personnel which required them to find various departments throughout the complex. By having to travel all over the building, it became easier for workers to become familiar with critical locations and the fastest route to reach them.
Darnall Medical Center is classified as a level 1 destination for some types of emergencies and overall as a level 3 hospital. The facility has a helicopter landing pad for emergencies and critical transfers. Some very innovative practices take place in their fully equipped maternity ward. They have two dedicated operating rooms located right in the department. This means that an expectant mother who may require a cesarean section does not have to leave the department. Another new practice is the lack of a newborn nursery. Baby and mother are together during their entire time in the hospital. This provides constant bonding and comfort between baby and parents.
The medical center will be available to active and retired military personnel and their families. There is parking for 5,000 vehicles and easy access to the facility.