Bringing emergency care to 280

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

By Samantha Hurst / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY — Brookwood Medical Center in Homewood filed a letter of intent Tuesday with the State Health Planning and Development Agency to build an emergency department off U.S. 280.

Brookwood Chief Development Officer Vincent McVittie said putting such a facility within the 280 corridor has been in the hospital’s long-range plan.

“We obviously draw a lot of our patients from that area, and we realized that we needed to start taking the services to them, instead of expecting them to come to us,” McVittie said.

The $14 million, 17,000- square-foot facility would be freestanding and would treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The department would also be staffed with ER physicians and nurses and would provide all of the services that a typical emergency room would, including diagnostics such as X-rays.

Brookwood Medical Center sits 9 miles from the proposed site. McVittie said that leaves some patients too far from quick medical care.

“Say your chest pain patient comes from Double Oak Mountain in Chelsea. They have to fight that traffic just to get a diagnosis,” McVittie said. “You’ve probably heard the clich/ – time is muscle. When it comes to a true heart attack, early diagnosis is key.”

Depending on the patient’s circumstance, they would be stabilized at the ER and then transferred and admitted to Brookwood Hospital if further treatment was needed.

Brookwood expects to build the project on about 50 acres along Highway 119 and U.S. 280, adjacent to St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health and Wellness Center.

If everything goes smoothly with the approval process, Brookwood anticipates breaking ground early next year