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Baptist moves all patients to new state-of-the-art hospital in Oxford

Jeremy Jefcoat has been helping patients at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi for 20 years, working in the Intensive Care Unit and, more recently, in the Cath Lab.

On Saturday, during the hospital’s momentous move from its now-former location off South Lamar Boulevard to its new facility off Belk Boulevard, Jefcoat found herself being the first patient moved to the new hospital.

Jefcoat was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday for a vicious spider bite.

“We all joked about ways to get out of having to be at the move, but I didn’t want it to be like this,” Jefcoat said with a chuckle while in her hospital bed on Saturday, just a few hours after relocating from the former hospital.

Jefcoat said she really was disappointed to not be able to assist her co-workers with the move but was impressed with how smooth the transition was on Saturday.

“It was the first time I’d ever been on a stretcher in an ambulance,” she said. “It went very smoothly. Everyone’s been awesome.”

The hospital began moving 79 patients over to the new facility at 5 a.m. By 11 a.m., all patients were in their rooms at the new hospital.

Baptist BMH-NM CEO and Administrator Bill Henning said that while he was a bit surprised at how fast the move took, he wasn’t surprised at how smooth it went.

“We’ve been planning this for months,” he said on  Saturday while in the lobby of the new facility. “We had everything in place with backup plans and contingency plans in place. The staff gets all the credit. They did a wonderful job.”

Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Jason Waller said no patients were left in the emergency room when the clock hit 5 a.m.

“There was one patient in the ER close to that time but we were able to discharge him,” Waller said, who started his day at 4:45 a.m. at the former ER. He arrived at the new hospital around 5:30 a.m. after moving over some equipment. However, Waller said most of the medical equipment at the new hospital is new, state-of-the-art equipment, so there wasn’t much to carry over.

“The new ER is so much bigger,” he said. “Lot more floors to walk. All the phone numbers are different and the room numbers. It’s a big adjustment.”

Waller said he’s looking forward to working at the new hospital for many years to come.

“It’s the end of an era and the beginning of something new,” he said.

Dr. Tanya Fitts, a local pediatrician, said three newborn babies were transferred over but that no one was in labor at the time of the move.

She made her last round at the former facility before the move and then did her first round at the new hospital later on Saturday morning. She called the move “exciting” and said she looks forward to working in the new pediatric area that is not only “beautiful,” but more comfortable and spacious for patients.

“The safety and security are also much improved (at the new hospital),” Fitts said during her first rounds at the new location. “We’ll have 24-hour monitoring of the women and children’s area.”

Henning said the hospital picked Thanksgiving weekend because it’s traditionally one of the slowest times for the hospital, with so many people out of town for the holiday and, especially this year, with the Egg Bowl taking place in Starkville.

“It all worked out very well,” Henning said. “It feels really good (to see the new hospital open). It’s something we’ve been working on for five years.”

In 2012, the heads of BMH-NM started discussions with city and county leaders about the possibility of building a new, $300 million regional hospital and buying out of the lease of where the hospital was formerly located.

The new facility has expanded its emergency room and outpatient departments have additional surgical suites and operating rooms and an enhanced ICU.

For more information on the new hospital, visit http://baptistonline.org/nowopen.

This article originally appeared in The Oxford Eagle.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at The Oxford Eagle.
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Alyssa Schnugg, The Oxford Eagle
Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at The Oxford Eagle.

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