Wheeling the most critically ill patients throughout a hospital to get a CT scan is not a pleasant experience — and it’s not a safe one, either.
The farther patients travel, the greater chance they have of contracting additional viruses and illnesses.
When Hackensack University Medical Center opens the Helena Theurer Pavilion this fall — a 530,000-square-foot, $700 million, nine-story tower that promises to be state-of-the-art in every way — it will come with a CT scanner in the new 50-bed ICU unit.
Because of it, patients who need a scan — some of whom are on life support — will only need to travel a short distance.
The scanner will be paid for by $775,000 of funding that U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5th Dist.) was able to claw back to the state for the hospital.
Mark Sparta, the president of Hackensack University Medical Center and the president of the North Region of Hackensack Meridian Health, called the new ICU units and the acquisition of the scanner a game-changer for the facility.
Sparta said he has seen the need for updated ICU facilities since the start of the pandemic. HUMC has admitted and treated more than 7,000 COVID-19-positive patients, the most of any hospital in the state.
“Caring for so many critically ill patients over the past two years has really helped us recognize the need that we so desperately had to have a CT scanner near our ICU beds,” he said. “Moving these seriously ill patients throughout the facility on ventilators and other life-support systems is not the best way to care for patients.
“Moving a patient not only is unsettling, but it also exposes them to potentially other infectious materials — and risks them losing their dignity as they move through the hallways on their darkest days.”
Gottheimer said he was happy to help, calling it a win for health care in the state.
“We simply can’t allow our hospitals to be ill-prepared or be without the tools and staffing resources needed to provide the highest quality of care,” he said. “That’s what’s bringing us all together today: to ensure this top-notch health care system here in North Jersey has the resources they need to reduce the strain on frontline health care workers and patients, and ensure that we’re prepared for anything thrown our way.”
Sparta said the new-and-improved ICU rooms are just one of the many state-of-the-art features that are coming to the pavilion, which also will include 24 new operating rooms and 150 private medical/surgical beds.
“The concept of the Helena Theurer Pavilion was really based on our mission to transform health care in New Jersey and build on our rich legacy of serving our communities and delivering exceptional, convenient and affordable care,” he said. “This is about putting patients first and providing them with the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art health care available.
“The operating rooms will be among the best in the world and include advanced imaging capability with an intraoperative MRI. We’re putting the finishing touches on the new ICUs to meet the needs of these most advanced and complex surgical patients — and our patients will enjoy the privacy, the dignity and the comfort of single-patient rooms, which have been proven to dramatically reduce hospital acquired infections.”