Whitfield Regional Hospital opens new ER

Published 2:11 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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Last Tuesday saw the opening of the brand new Whitfield Regional Hospital (WHR) ER. The ER project has been a long time coming, and promises to be a state of the art facility.

The new ER was a $5 million dollar investment that was supposed to have opened over the summer, but unexpected road blocks pushed the opening back to November. WRH CEO/Administrator Doug Brewer described the new facility as “beautiful” and is expected to impact the quality of care and service.”

“It’s not just going to be beautiful from the inside and outside. There’s new systems that were put in place to hopefully make a better experience for patients,” Brewer said. “Our goal with some of those systems is to improve our throughput times so people don’t come in like they’re there for too long.”

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One of the new implements of the ER is a mid-level, which is a physician assistant who will be present at the hospital during its “peak time.” The mid-level will be doing triage and fast track to improve the hospital’s throughput.

“We’ve hired a really amazing young physician assistant by the name of Sarah Foster, who has years of experience as a paramedic. She went back to school and became a physician assistant. We’re excited to have her there during peak times,” Brewer said.

The hospital has also added a state-of-the-art I-Stat system that will allow hospital personnel to quickly perform lab tests in the ER. The i-Stat is a portable blood analyzer that allows medical staff to quickly perform patient-side tests and upload results to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Lab Information System (LIS) to enable rapid treatment decisions, optimizing patient care.

Brewer said all of the diagnostic equipment is new and is a key part of emergency care.

“We’ve got a brand new state of the art CT that you’d have to go to Atlanta to find another one with the capabilities we have for trauma,” said Brewer.

As a rural hospital, WRH’s recent expansion reflects its dedication to advancing healthcare in the Demopolis community.

“The newly enhanced ER, featuring modern trauma bays, additional exam rooms, and state-of-the-art equipment, underscores our commitment to delivering top-tier care,” said Dr. Waqas Shuaib, Director of WRH’s Emergency Department. “With board-certified physicians and a range of specialties from Orthopedics, Surgery, OB-Gyn, Psychiatry, Cancer care, to cardiology, we’re proud to provide comprehensive services close to home. Our teleneuro stroke services, affiliated with UAB Medicine, ensure our patients receive specialized care backed by advanced expertise.”

Brewer said the staff is excited and eager to begin using the new facility.

“We’re really excited about being able to not be hampered by the facilities. We will be able to develop some programs and services that we think will provide not just better customer service, but better quality of care too,” Brewer said.

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be held around mid to late January 2024.