UVA Hospital breaks ground on emergency care expansion project

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- On Wednesday afternoon, local politicans, University of Virginia officials, and UVA Hospital staff members gathered together for the groundbreaking of the new emergency department and expansion of hospital bed wings.

"We're going to increase the number of beds from 43 to 80," said Richard Shannon, Vice President of Health Affairs at UVA Hospital. "That will allow us to provide care and private rooms to all of our patients."

Hospital employees say the extra rooms are going to be helpful to both patients and employees.

"There are lots of patients being treated in the hallways, and our treatment rooms have multiple people in them frequently," said Scott Syverud, Professor of Emergency Medicine at UVA Hospital.

Doubling up patients in rooms can get tricky too, since some patients require special treatment.

"A lot of times, sharing a double means we have to have two women patients with each other, and maybe a patient with an infectious disease can't be with other people," said Teresa Sullivan, UVA's President. "Maybe they need a lot of equipment. We end up wasting beds."

Besides the additional beds, officials say there will also be upgraded equipment and spaces to provide other types of care.

"We'll truly have state-of-the-art care for children, sexual assault victims, and other trauma patients," said Syverud.

The project will cost $394 million, and is expected to be completed in 2019. The finalized project will also feature three extra floors on the new emergency department, just in case the hospital needs to expand any more after the project is completed.

"We really care about the health of our whole population, but particularly the care of those who have emergency issues," said Sullivan. "We can give them the very best care whether they need to be admitted to the hospital or not, we're looking forward to doing that."

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