By Carter Coyle|February 20, 2020 at 7:28 PM EST - Updated February 20 at 8:43 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After five years, the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) new Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital is about to open its doors.
MUSC officials said during a media tour on Thursday that the 625,000 square foot facility in Charleston will officially open for patients this Saturday. Workers have spent this week moving equipment and supplies into the new building in preparation for opening day.
MUSC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Scheurer told Live 5 News that the hospital was designed by and for patients and families.
“Everything about it has been designed thoughtfully to make sure the experience of those folks - both the staff and patients - are first,” said Scheurer.
Despite delays last year, Scheurer said he is confident the facility is ready for patients.
FEATURES OF THE NEW HOSPITAL
Rooms in the new hospital are 20 percent bigger than in the facility’s predecessor and include in-room ipads and television screens for patients and video cameras that will allow teleconferencing with specialists.
The building features an 82-room NICU unit, which includes seven couplet care rooms to keep sick moms and babies together.
MUSC Administrator for Children's and Women's Services Amy Hauser stated that such a design was based on the work of researchers in Sweden.
“They found if mother and baby stay together in these situations, the length of stay is shorter, the recovery is better, and they have better outcomes,” Hauser explained.
Additional components in the new structure include specialty trauma rooms in the first-floor Emergency Department, playrooms on each floor, an outdoor play area, and a special "stork elevator" allowing expectant mothers to directly travel to the labor and delivery rooms on the fourth floor.
The entire hospital features Charleston-themed artwork from 60 local and regional artists.
COSTS AND FUNDING
The total cost of the new hospital and women's pavilion was $389 million.
Roughly nine percent - $35,750,000 - came from state funding.
MUSC tells me as of February 3, they've had more than $149 million in donations - 38% of the costs.
The remaining $204 million will be financed.
PHYSICALLY MOVING VULNERABLE PATIENTS
The logistics of moving patients from one hospital to another is a massive undertaking.
And when those patients include babies, children and sick mothers, it has to happen even more carefully.
Scheurer says they’re preparing to move 200 patients from the old hospital to the new - all one on Saturday
MUSC is setting up a logistics center and two command centers to oversee the move.
Communities all over the state are helping by providing a total of 30 ambulances for the most vulnerable children and mothers.
The patients are divided into four groups for the move.
“Those four tracts of patients are going to simultaneously be going from one building to this building, all being coordinated. We will know where the patients are in route and when they are safely received. We’ll have sending teams and receiving teams," Scheurer explained.
He said since the beginning, professional consultants have been helping the hospital prepare for this transition.
Employees have been moving equipment and supplies all week.
Until Saturday, labor and delivery units will be operating at both hospitals.
Leaders remind families who come to the hospital for delivery to bring a car seat with them in case they are moved on Saturday.
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