Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City Opens $2.6 Million ER Expansion

February 14, 2024

Mercy is celebrating the expansion of the emergency department at its hospital in northwest Oklahoma City. The $2.6 million project was fully funded by local philanthropists Herman and LaDonna Meinders. The addition includes a new CT scanner to serve patients experiencing emergencies like strokes, trauma, abdominal pain, chest pain and other neurological conditions.

More than 50,000 patients seek care at the Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City ER annually, and nearly half of these patients require at least one CT during their visit. Before the expansion, patients were transported to a different floor in the hospital to get the imaging needed for a diagnosis. Now the latest technology is steps away in the same department. 

Mercy doctor's coat Herman Meinders and Dr. Lance Watson, Mercy ER physician

“Our ER team provides incredible care, but having a CT scanner in the ER helps make that care more streamlined for our patients and co-workers,” said Dr. Lance Watson, chair of the emergency department at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “For stroke patients, getting a CT scan that will lead to a diagnosis as quickly as possible is critical to provide lifesaving care and decrease the possibility of long-term disabilities.”

Mercy’s hospital is an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certified by The Joint Commission, the highest level of stroke certification awarded exclusively to hospitals able to treat the most complex stroke cases. This special designation means Mercy has the most advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments and staff with the unique training and experience to care for patients who have experienced a stroke.

The Meinders made the donation in honor of Dr. Richard Vertrees Smith and his decades of service to the Oklahoma health care community.

Dr. Smith joined the medical staff at Mercy as a neurosurgeon in 1974 when Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City first opened the doors at its current location. He was a part of the original group of physicians who founded Mercy’s Meinders NeuroScience Institute. Dr. Smith led the team that created the first comprehensive stroke center in Oklahoma, Mercy’s gamma knife radiosurgery center and the Meinders Center for Movement Disorders.

He continues to serve as a physician liaison with the Mercy Health Foundation and still practices medicine at the Crossings Clinic, providing free neurological care to the underserved.

“Dr. Smith’s visionary leadership and compassion have had a direct impact on my life and the lives of countless others,” said Herman Meinders. “His skill and dedication have advanced neurological care in Oklahoma for 50 years, no doubt saving thousands of lives.” 

The Meinders have also made a lifesaving impact on countless patients as the largest donor in Mercy Oklahoma history, with more than $16.2 million in gifts since 2018.

In addition to fully funding the ER project, the Meinders donated $7.5 million in August to build the Kathryn Ann Meinders Digestive Health Institute at Mercy. They previously funded the Herman Meinders Center for Movement Disorders and purchased the equipment to perform deep brain stimulation for patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions and donated to the Love Family Women’s Center that will soon open at Mercy.

“The Meinders’ generosity is endless, and their giving is evident all over Oklahoma City,” said Lori Cummins, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation Communities. “We are so blessed to have their support at Mercy. Their kindness has changed so many lives for the better and will impact generations of Oklahomans."

Mercy doctor's coat Richard Vertrees Smith, MD Emergency Department Imaging Suite