New Critical Care Unit Opens

December 6, 2013



Mercy held an opening celebration and ribbon cutting for the new

critical care unit December 4. Pictured from left are

Joan Frost, chief operating officer, Terri McLain, president of

Mercy Hospital Washington, Jan Siess, RN, Pat Peters, RN,

Sr. Reine Marie Martin, RSM, Sr. Michaelanne Estoup, RSM,

David Chalk, MD, president of Mercy Clinic, Doris Aufderheide, RN,

and Lora Copeland, nurse manager.

Washington, Mo. – Patients and their loved ones are benefiting from the newly expanded and renovated critical care unit at Mercy Hospital Washington.

“The new space allows us to keep more people close to home for their care,” said Dr. William Galli, medical director. “We have space for advanced medical equipment and expanding services. We can do more bedside procedures. And we’re providing more critical care specialists and specialties.”

Construction that began in February to alter the third floor is now complete. The new third floor features 13 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patient rooms, six Transitional Care Unit (TCU) patient rooms and additional areas for staff and supplies. The combined space is known as the critical care unit. The patient rooms are spacious, modern and private.

It is a big change for a space that one year ago consisted of just the Intensive Care Unit on half the floor and offered semi-private rooms. 

“The former ICU opened when the hospital opened in 1976. Through the decades, as we’ve kept up with medical technologies, our semi-private rooms became more crowded with equipment. The cramped space and lack of privacy was something we’ve been anxious to change,” said Terri McLain, president of Mercy Hospital Washington.

After upgrades for other departments in urgent need or additions for new hospital services, such as cancer services, heart care and an expanded emergency department, it was finally time to renovate the ICU.

“Now patients and their families can have closed-door conversations in these rooms and the medical teams have ample space to do their jobs efficiently and effectively,” said McLain.

The department offers a highly skilled staff of critical care specialists including a team of intensivists – physicians who are trained to treat the complicated medical needs of critical patients. Additional care is offered by the telemedicine specialists at Mercy SafeWatch, which features 24/7, two-way video monitoring that allows patients, families and staff to see the Mercy SafeWatch physicians they’re working with.

The hospital’s first ICU opened in 1970 in what was St. Francis Hospital and stood where the Mercy Medical Building now sits. That early ICU offered six beds in three rooms. Two nurses who worked in that ICU still work at Mercy Hospital Washington, Pat Peters and Jan Siess, and attended the ribbon cutting for the new critical care unit.  

A more modern ICU opened on the third floor of the new – and current – hospital at 901 E. Fifth St. in 1976 with 11 beds in seven rooms. It remained there, receiving two new rooms about eight years ago, continuously filling with new technologies that the space never was designed to handle.

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