San Bernardino Community Hospital expands emergency services

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Emergency Department at Dignity Health Community Hospital of San Bernardino is completed and the milestone is officially commemorated.

Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the formal opening of the three-year expansion project.

That morning, the sun was warming up for what would be a sultry day.

Renovation of the 105-year-old, 374-bed hospital has transformed it to better accommodate the growing critical needs of the community.

This emergency department expansion means that instead of treating an average of 127 patients per day, more than 174 patients per day can receive emergency treatment.

That’s more than 63,000 patients each year.

On ribbon-cutting day, some hospital administrators and staff were part of the gathering.

Their pride and enthusiasm for their work and work place was evident.

An awning near the front lawn provided shade for a breakfast selection of sandwiches, cheeses, fresh fruit — and refreshing drinks.

The day was historically significant.

The expanded urgent care will serve as the only treatment source for some patients who don’t have primary medical care.

“Going to the ER is never anyone’s best day,” said Dr. Cameron Nouri, emergency room medical director. “The least we can do is be there with compassion and provide them with the best care that’s possible.”

Nouri added that he sees the value of the expansion to the community.

“When we opened it up, I said Christmas came early for us,” he said. “We have a larger area to triage patients and get to them faster, and this allows us to see our patients in a timely manner and provide them the care they really deserve.”

The expansion was conducted in five phases and included a new entrance, registration area and security desk; larger waiting room and covered outdoor patio seating; new ambulance entrance; a bigger restroom compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and a new “Fast Track” area made up of four patient screening rooms and a two-bed treatment room.

“There’s a saying in emergency medicine that the sickest patient is the one you haven’t seen yet,” Nouri told the gathering.

In August 2014, a young San Bernardino police officer was rushed to the Community Hospital ER with what should have been a fatal wound to the head.

Doctors there stabilized him enough for transfer to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

“I just read an article that showed him walking and talking — he had a big smile on his face. Those are the moments that make our job worhwhile,” Dr. Nouri said.

Mark Winick, director of spiritual care said the hospital should provide hospitality — as well as technology through the services it provides.

“It’s about providing a sense that people are cared for. We should nurture the spirit, not just the body,” he said.

Diane Ahearn, senior clinical director, said “Hello Humankindness is who we are.”

“We don’t think of it as a brand. We think of it as who we are and what we do. Hello Humankindness is an expectation — more than that, it’s a promise — a promise to our staff, our patients, our community.”

The gathering included public officials, of course, including Sen. Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga), San Bernardino City Councilwoman Virginia Marquez, and city councilmen Rikke Van Johnson and John Valdivia.

Community Hospital President June Collison said there is a need in San Bernardino.

“We’re here to provide care to the community, especially the disenfranchized, the poor and the sick — that’s what our mission is.”