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Summer 2007

New Emergency Department to Open

At a time when many hospitals in Southern California are closing their emergency departments (ED), UCLA Health is actually opening new, state-of-the-art facilities. The Nethercutt Emergency Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital is slated to open this summer. “With more than 30,000 visits each year, the hospital needed a new emergency department to accommodate more patients in an organized manner,” explains Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the ED.

At 16,000 square feet— double the capacity of the old ED—the new space features a large, childfriendly waiting room and private triage area. Inside the ward, a centralized nursing station and observation unit allows continuous monitoring of patients before being admitted to the hospital or discharged. Patients rest in comfortable rooms furnished with doors—not curtain dividers—that allow physicians to diagnose and treat patients in privacy.

The ED maintains the only 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner in an ED in West Los Angeles. This equipment provides a quick, accurate diagnosis of blood clots, injury to vessels or coronary artery disease without the need for extensive tests. Many patients require lab tests as part of their course of treatment. The lab is located just below the ED and is equipped with a delivery system that decreases turnaround time for test results.

Patients whose minor injuries or illnesses—such as earaches, sprained ankles or minor lacerations—do not require lab work or imaging studies may be treated in a separate part of the ED where they will essentially go through an “express line” and get in and out in about an hour. “We took great care in the planning of the new ED to make sure that it efficiently serves the volume and variety of emergency situations in our community,” says Dr. Ghurabi.

The new emergency department is located on the ground floor of the new Southwest Wing on 15th Street, north of Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica.

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