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A New St. Luke's | Fact Sheet

Improved Emergency Care for the New Bedford Community

The $33 million, three-year project includes 50,000 square feet of new construction and 40,000 square feet of renovations — all within the hospital's current footprint.

The Need

St. Luke's Hospital is the New Bedford region's only source for around-the-clock emergency care.

  • St. Luke's Hospital Emergency Department volume is 73,000 visits annually:
    • Almost three times the national average (25,000 visits annually).
    • Busiest community hospital ER in Massachusetts; among the busiest ERs in state.
    • Current volume is greater than pre-construction capacity (55,000).
  • Patients and families have complained about:
    • Long waits.
    • Poor physical environment.
    • Beds in hallways, lack of privacy.
  • Lack of inpatient beds at St. Luke's contributes to ER overcrowding.
  • Higher than average number of ER patients are admitted to St. Luke's:
    • 30 percent arrive by ambulance.
  • Projections call for further growth in ER patients:
    • As ER patients increase, so will demand for medical/surgical ICU beds.
    • More private rooms are needed to accommodate patient care protocols.
  • Heart services, including cardiac catheterization volume, is growing; more space is needed.

A New St. Luke's Project Highlights

New Emergency Department:

  • New highly technical and efficiently designed ER with 80 percent more floor space.
  • Added 17 new treatment bays to the ER for a total of 51; increases capacity to 100,000 patients per year — all treatment bays are private with solid walls (no more curtains).
  • Organized into five teams, each dedicated to a particular patient population based on acuity of symptoms (three trauma levels, ExpressCare 24 and psychiatric observation unit).
  • The ER now has a "fast lane" option, called ExpressCare 24 @ St. Luke's, to speed patients with minor complaints such as flu, ear infection and suture removal through the ER. Private family gathering area.
  • State-of-the-art trauma room.
  • Separate triage for ambulance and walk-in patients with streamlined assessment areas.
  • Special triage area for ambulances, including 10 parking bays and a dedicated area inside the ER for their administrative tasks.
  • Two new negative-pressure decontamination rooms for the treatment of patients with contagious diseases or hazardous exposures.
  • A new psychiatric observation area with secure, state-of-the-art equipment and monitoring.
  • Social workers and care coordination have offices and staff in emergency department.
  • A new 64-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner and two standard X-ray machines located in the ER for faster turn around.
  • Ability to continuously monitor patients' vital signs wirelessly with an automated tracking system.
  • Larger and more spacious work areas for all ER staff. Designated areas for equipment storage.

Expanded and renovated inpatient floors:

  • Renovation and expansion of three inpatient floors in the Memorial Building, which is adjacent to the Emergency Department.
  • The addition of 33 in-patient medical/surgical beds, 19 of which are private beds, including six amenity rooms with features like high-speed Internet access. Each floor also contains two isolations rooms for contagious patients.
  • The units were redesigned with larger nursing and administrative work areas, race-track floor layout and bright, wide hallways.
  • The second floor Wilks unit is now dedicated to orthopedic surgery patients and is better designed to treat those who have had partial and total joint replacement.
  • Special amenity rooms built on the fourth floor Crapo unit have become ideal spaces for hospice and palliative care patients and their families. The rooms have comfortable sitting areas for patients' families and there is also a special family sitting room on the unit available to family when they need respite or when nurses are caring for their loved ones.

New cardiac catheterization laboratory suite:

  • The cardiac catheterization laboratory was relocated to the ground floor, below the new ER, and a second cardiac catheterization lab was added.
  • The two-room cardiac catheterization lab offers the newest technology available and is designed with the latest efficiencies such as equipment hung from the ceiling for greater patient access.
  • Performs more than 1,100 advanced heart diagnostic and treatment procedures a year, including approximately 700 cardiac catheterizations and 400 device implementations such as pacemakers and internal defibrillators. Other procedures include emergency intra-aortic balloon pump insertions and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) for congestive heart failure patients.
  • Direct link with Charlton Memorial Hospital's advanced heart program, which offers open heart surgery and angioplasty.
  • All images, documentation and reporting are electronic. Physicians can access images through secure internet server from any computer.

The McBratney Amphitheatre

  • A 112-seat state-of-the-art amphitheatre for medical education and conferences.
  • State-of-the-art technology and video equipment.
  • Satellite hook-ups that can bring video and audio conferences from around the world, linking our medical professionals with their counterparts anywhere on this planet.

How you can help.

Your support is vital to the success of the New St. Luke's. To learn more about the project — and how your donation can help — please contact us at:

Learn more about how you can support St. Luke's.

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