Swedish Covenant Celebrates Expanded Emergency Center

Post a Comment » Written on March 16th, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 16, 2007) – A ribbon-cutting this morning officially acknowledged the completion of a $10 million state-of-the-art emergency room at Swedish Covenant Hospital, with the facility scheduled to welcome its first patients on Tuesday.

Those in attendance were the first to learn that the new facility will have a new name going forward – the Yelda Family Emergency Department at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The new name honors a significant $4 million gift from members of the Yelda family, long-time friends of the hospital who have been part of Chicago’s philanthropic community for many years.

SCHÉmigrés from Iran, members of this Assyrian Christian family represented at today’s unveiling included Jeannette, Flora and Beth Yelda. Rami, a retired orthopedic surgeon who was on staff at Swedish for many years, was unable to attend.

Recalling the founding of the hospital more than 120 years ago by Swedish immigrants, hospital President and CEO Mark Newton noted that today Swedish Covenant Hospital continues to be the first point of entry for many immigrants coming to the United States, with the hospital located in one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in North America.

Newton addressed a large gathering inside a special tent constructed adjacent to the new facility. The tent also will welcome community residents this weekend for a two-day celebration and preview look inside the new emergency center.

Special recognition was given the efforts of U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in securing a $1 million federal grant that allowed the project to move forward quickly.

“My father used to practice here,” said Emanuel, who noted that the grant represents “the first and only time that the federal government has provided any money for bricks and mortar expansion for Swedish Covenant.”

Noting his father’s work with children while a practicing pediatrician, Emanuel outlined his current effort to push for expanded health coverage that would include some eight million children – the Healthy Kids Act – as well as eventual plans to push for health care coverage for every American. He praised Durbin, who was unable to be present this morning, for his assistance in securing the grant.

The expanded facility not only will allow more patients to be seen, but it also includes a number of distinctive features reflecting the latest trends in emergency room design and preparedness. One special feature involves decontamination rooms for those exposed to chemical agents, offering a separate entrance with impermeable surfaces and contained shower systems to treat patients and prevent contamination of other patients and staff.

“Everything was designed to handle future growth and respond to today’s most important health issues,” said Bruce McNulty, MD, board certified in emergency medicine and head of the physician’s group that oversees the emergency department. Another health-related security measure involves negative pressure rooms, spaces that incorporate their own independent air handling systems to help contain airborne pathogens such as SARS. Exhaust goes down to floor level so it’s never reintroduced to public breathing environments.

Other enhancements include:
•    11,000 square feet of new space to accommodate patients and staff
•    Visitor lounge designed to relieve stress, including a gas fireplace and aquarium
•    Ten new examination rooms to reduce waiting time
•    Enlarged patient triage area to ensure privacy
•    Private area for family consultations
•    Separate entrances for ambulances and pedestrians to enhance privacy

Expansion of the emergency department was spurred, in part, by closures of two neighboring hospitals – Edgewater and Ravenswood – and patient volume that has nearly doubled during the past six years. Patient visits exceeded 42,000 in 2006 and are expected to surpass 50,000 this year.

Swedish Covenant Hospital is a comprehensive healthcare facility providing health and wellness services to the communities of Chicago’s North Side. It is a ministry of Covenant Ministries of Benevolence of the Evangelical Covenant Church. To learn more about the hospital and its programs, visit Swedish Covenant Hospital online.

Editor’s note: the accompanying photo shows (from left): Mark Newton, president and CEO; U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel; Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris; and Chicago Alderman Pat O’Connor. To see additional photos, visit SCH Emergency Room.

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