Operation Go WEST, the massive move from Wishard to Eskenazi Hospital, took place over the weekend.
At 7 a.m. on a bitterly cold Saturday morning, hundreds of patients from Wishard Hospital’s emergency room, burn center and general care facilities readied to make the move across campus.
Eskenazi CEO and Medical Director Dr. Lisa Harris knew her staff was ready.
“We have been preparing for this for years and what has kept us going is this day,” Harris said. “We get to open our doors to our patients and to our community.”
Ambulances, vans and buses from across the state lined up. Hospital staff and volunteers moved into position to make the six minute move from old to new. It was not something new for the teams. As a level one trauma center the Wishard/Eskenazi staff members go into command mode on a regular basis. On Saturday, they had extra help from the U.S. Naval reserve and the Indiana National Guard.
At 8:09a.m., the first patient arrived in a new room at Eskenazi, a baby boy from the neonatal intensive care unit. At noon a baby girl was the first to be born at the new hospital. By 12:30 p.m., 115 patients had completed the ride from Wishard to Eskenazi.
“We have the command center at the sending hospital and the command center at the receiving hospital,” Harris said. “Both are communicating with flawless execution and we are going to get everybody moved safely and hopefully keeping them all warm.”
The nonprofit group MESH guided the command center making sure logistics, hospital and overall move operations went smoothly.
“Someone told me that this is the second largest hospital move in the United States since 2002,” said Chad Priest with MESH.
Hundreds of volunteers welcomed new patients in the hospital lobby, including Sharon Thompkins who has volunteered at Wishard for seven years.
“They have done a wonderful job in the move, it really touched my heart,” she said.
By 2:01p.m., the move was complete – 149 patients safely transported, 30 new patients admitted,123 patients treated in the new ER. Operation GO WEST was a success.