EDITORIAL: Statistics show need for hospital expansion

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

If you’re in immediate need of medical attention, you’re likely going to find yourself in a hospital emergency room.

Hospital emergency departments are generally areas of high stress, where life or death can hang in the balance. The sick or injured may often be in distress, while their families are on edge until medical personnel can get the situation under control.

A busy, or crowded, emergency department can only add stress for the doctors and nurses, their patients, and the families of the patients. The  emergency department at Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford, like many emergency departments, is one extremely busy place.

If you’ve not been there in the last four years, consider the fact that there has been a 30 percent increase in emergency visits to Central Carolina Hospital in the last four years.

The hospital is now seeking state approval for a $14 million expansion of the emergency department. The expansion would add 12,500 square feet of space and nine emergency room treatment areas. If approved, the expansion could be in place by 2016.

Hospital CEO Doug Doris said he expects the project will be approved and the expansion will occur.

“We have a huge amount of need,” he said. “I have been here for about six years, and in that time, the number of (emergency room) visits grew from 27,000 per year to 41,000 per year. We just haven’t gotten enough rooms.”

Let’s hope that this project will come to fruition so that our citizens will have the greatest opportunity for positive outcomes when a medical emergency arises.

With 66.5 percent of CCH emergency department patients being from Lee County, it would be a comfort to know that our hospital has the available space to adequately handle our own local emergencies.