Monday, March 16, 2009

Mercy Reaffirms Commitment to Downtown Baltimore for the Next Half-Century and Beyond: The Mary Catherine Bunting Center Opens 12/19/10

Mercy Reaffirms Commitment to Downtown Baltimore for the Next Half-Century and Beyond: The Mary Catherine Bunting Center Opens 12/19/10

Mercy’s $400+ Million, 20-Story New Hospital Opens 7 Months Ahead of Schedule, Features State of the Art Technology, All Private Patient Rooms, Rooftop Gardens and Other Patient Care Amenities

Baltimore, MD (Vocus) December 9, 2010

In recent years, Mercy Medical Center publications have featured the phrase, “On A Threshold of a Dream.” That dream becomes a reality on Sunday, Dec. 19th when Mercy opens the $400+ million, 686,000 square foot Mary Catherine Bunting Center – the all new Mercy hospital – Mercy president and CEO Thomas R. Mullen announced today.

“Patients will be relocated to the new hospital on Sunday, Dec. 19th. Monday morning, physicians will be performing surgeries in the new Mary Catherine Bunting Center. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the shared history of Mercy and the City of Baltimore that extends back to 1874,” Mr. Mullen said.

According to Sr. Helen Amos, RSM, Executive Chair of Mercy’s Board of Trustees, the opening of the new Mary Catherine Bunting Center “reaffirms Mercy’s commitment to Baltimore. Mercy stands at the same location where six Sisters of Mercy arrived in 1874. With the opening of the new hospital, we are committed to serve the health care needs for the people of downtown Baltimore for the next half century and beyond,” she said.

Named in honor of philanthropist Mary Catherine Bunting for her transformational gift to Mercy, the new hospital has a capacity for 259 all-private inpatient rooms (including 32 critical care beds); 15 state-of-the art operating rooms with advanced technology, including robotics; an all-weather bridge connecting the new hospital to the Bunting garage and featuring a skywalk atrium with a historical display celebrating Mercy’s heritage; three roof-top gardens, and more.

“We’d reached a tipping point—further renovation of our existing inpatient tower was not as wise as replacement. It was designed in the 1950s, long before most bedside monitoring equipment and privacy legislation. And opening the new hospital frees space for new Centers of Excellence and clinical programs as well,” Mr. Mullen said.

The Bunting Center will open in phases; initially 190 private rooms will be available on the patient care units. There is shell space for future growth. There are plans to eventually relocate the Emergency Department, Radiology, Obstetrics, Pediatrics and the NICU from the McAuley Plaza (the former inpatient tower) to Bunting over the next few years. The Transitional Care Unit (TCU), Detox Unit, the hospital Sleep Center and the laboratory will remain in the old facility, Mr. Mullen said.

“Particularly noteworthy are the all-private patient rooms. This is now the standard of care as private rooms reduce the risk of infection, falls and medication errors. Patients are more forthcoming with caregivers when in a private room, and this leads to a better understanding of their condition and care. People also sleep better and that helps in their recovery,” Mr. Mullen said.

Each patient room features:
Private bathroom Personal corkboard 32" flat screen television Single bed Private safe Sofa Nursing station Private phone lines Internet Access (WIFI available) Ottoman with built in countertops

Two to three times larger than current patient rooms, each room features access to the “Get Well” Network (where patients can learn more about their individual conditions and forms of treatment); a bathroom/shower features a “no-slip” coating resin for patient safety, and every room has a window view.

The Bunting Center has 15 ORs, the smallest of which is larger than the largest OR in the current hospital tower. The ORs are equipped with special broadcast video equipment allowing surgery video to be shared with other medical teams and physicians both on and off campus.

To keep OR floors clear, all lights and power supports have been mounted on the ceiling and are easily movable. Each OR has approximately the same layout, meaning doctors and nurses can locate equipment and materials quickly and easily. And to reduce the potential spread of infection, all the ORs are located on a single floor. Surgical supplies and equipment are kept in one area for easy access.

A place of worship and quiet reflection, the multi-denominational Chapel of Light features the one-of-kind, custom-built, 20x80 foot “nugget” wall. Each panel in the wall is about 9 feet in length and weighs approximately 1,000 pounds. The panels are filled with the various colored sea-glass nuggets, positioned to catch the morning light.

From the Jerusalem stone lobby staircase to the lobby pillars which bear homage to the values of the Sisters of Mercy, there is much that is “aesthetically appealing” about the new Mary Catherine Bunting Center, said James Curran, AIA, director of the Bunting Center’s architectural firm, Ellerbe Becket.

“But perhaps the most visible element of the new hospital is the three rooftop gardens—more than 17,000 square feet of gardens, found on the center’s 8th, 9th and 10th floors. Not only do these gardens provide patients and staff with a place of meditation, they reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the hospital’s interior,” Mr. Curran said.

Visitors making their way from the new Bunting Garage traverse a “skywalk atrium” which Mercy officials have transformed into a “mini-museum,” celebrating the shared history of the hospital and the city of Baltimore is has served for more than 136 years.

A variety of items are on display including bricks from the Washington University School of Medicine and College of Physicians and Surgeons, forerunners of the University of Maryland School of Medicine; an Award Pin for Nursing Excellence presented to the first graduate of Mercy’s Nursing School, Miss Sarah Ward, in 1901; and the original trowel used by James Cardinal Gibbons in 1889 to lay the hospital’s cornerstone, and used again by Lawrence Cardinal Shehan in 1963 for the Tower Building hospital.

“Tom (Mullen) and I used it last year to place a brick taken from the original House of Mercy (founded in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland) in our new Bunting Center,” Sr. Helen said.

The atrium then enters into the expansive, 2-story lobby. The marble floors feature the green Mercy leaf cross which, in addition to its aesthetic appeal, serves a way-finding function as the cross points to the front desk.

While the new hospital won’t officially open til Dec. 19th, the facility has already won several awards for its design and construction, including for brick and stone masonry work as well as the hospital’s pneumatic tube and electrical conduit systems.

“The developer, Whiting-Turner, the architect, Ellerbe Becket and their subcontractors received four Craftmanship Awards from the 2010 Business Congress and Exchange of Metropolitan Baltimore in October for the new hospital,” Mr. Mullen said.

Mercy’s new hospital received a 2010 Bridging the Gap Achievement Award from the Greater Baltimore Committee for Mercy’s efforts in creating a Minority Business Partnership and Strategic Alliance with Whiting-Turner, the Maryland Washington Minority Contractor Association and U. S. Congressman Elijah Cummings.

The general public will have an opportunity to get acquainted with Mercy’s new hospital on Saturday, Dec. 11th from 12-3 p. m. when an open house with tours will be held.

Mercy Medical Center is a 136-year-old, university affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation, among 10 best centers for women’s health and most recently, to U. S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” edition. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine and the new Mary Catherine Bunting Center at 345 St. Paul Place in downtown Baltimore. For more information, visit http://www. mdmercy. com. For more details about Mercy’s new hospital, also visit http://www. mercybunting. com.

Dan Collins

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