Sandra Tadlock waited a long time to begin caring for patients at The University of Texas Medical Branch’s new hospital and emergency room at its League City Campus.
But it was well worth the wait, she said.
“It’s nice to be taking care of patients again,” said Tadlock, a nurse clinician for the League City campus’ labor and delivery unit.
Tadlock was part of a team of nurses who helped create parts of the new hospital by giving input on a mock hospital room the medical branch had in Galveston when developing the design of its League City campus.
Doctors and former medical branch patients also had input on everything from the furniture to room design in the three-story expansion.
The nurses found ways to have more space for IV poles next to patients’ beds, made it a priority to have bathrooms big enough so patients could comfortably bring their IV in with them, and made sure supplies were always accessible from the bedside.
“Getting input from someone who has been in the field for 31 years was extremely beneficial,” said Amy Lussier, associate vice president of health system operations.
The 150,000-square-foot hospital, located at 2240 Interstate 45, expands outpatient care and surgical services at the medical branch’s existing specialty facility, as the once island-centric institution continues to deepen its roots in the League City and Clear Lake area.
The development, which began in February 2013, was plagued by delays. Earlier this year, the University of Texas System, which oversees the medical branch, replaced original contractor McCarthy Building Cos. after the project, which was planned to open late last year, met with those delays.
McCarthy attributed the delays to substantial changes and additions to the scope of the work directed by the medical branch.
The new hospital includes birthing suites designed with input from patients, nursing staff and physicians; an emergency department with 10 rooms; four endoscopy suites; 10 operating rooms; two cardiac catheterization labs; and physical and cardiac rehabilitation service, among other features.
The new hospital and emergency room joins the medical branch’s 110,000-square-foot specialty care center at the site.
Dr. Brandy Wright, an anesthesiologist with the medical branch who lives in Friendswood, was one of the first mothers to have her baby at the new facility. Westbrook Wright was born June 6.
“I had a lot of apprehension in the last few months before he was born,” Wright said. “I didn’t know if I was going to deliver in Galveston or League City.”
But she’s thankful the League City hospital opened in time.
“Even if I didn’t work for UTMB, I would be so happy with the care I’ve had here,” Wright said. “It’s such a nice facility and really makes patients feel like they’re worth something.”
Already in the first few weeks since opening, volume in the hospital’s emergency department is increasing every day, said Christine Wade, nursing director.
“We’ve begun sending patients from the emergency department to the operating room,” Wade said.
And because the facility has the capability to have overnight patients, doctors are able to perform procedures they weren’t able to before. Procedures that require overnight stays for patients usually last more than four hours, said Linda Phillips, a plastic surgeon now located at the League City campus.
“Patients don’t have to travel all the way to Galveston to receive this kind of care now,” Phillips said. “It’s much easier access now — this is in their own neighborhood.”
The campus is also where MD Anderson Cancer Center will build an outpatient cancer center as part of the first-ever clinical collaboration agreement between the two University of Texas System institutions.
In August, those institutions announced they would bring world-renowned cancer treatment nearer to county residents by building a 135,000-square-foot outpatient center at the League City campus.
The treatment center, expected to open by 2018, will represent a $112 million investment.