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Southside hospital gets new emergency department
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University Physicians Hospital

Southside hospital gets new emergency department

  • A trauma room in the new emergency department was dedicated to the three-person crew of LifeNet 12, who died when their helicopter crashed last year.
    Christina Dawidowicz/TucsonSentinel.comA trauma room in the new emergency department was dedicated to the three-person crew of LifeNet 12, who died when their helicopter crashed last year.
  • One of UPH's new trauma rooms.
    Christina Dawidowicz/TucsonSentinel.comOne of UPH's new trauma rooms.
  • First responders listen to a speech given about the new emergency department and the trauma room dedicated to the crew of LifeNet 12.
    Christina Dawidowicz/TucsonSentinel.comFirst responders listen to a speech given about the new emergency department and the trauma room dedicated to the crew of LifeNet 12.
  • The plaque dedicating a trauma room to the crew of LifeNet 12.
    Christina Dawidowicz/TucsonSentinel.comThe plaque dedicating a trauma room to the crew of LifeNet 12.

New beds in an expanded emergency room and two new helicopter pads will enable University Physicians Hospital to treat more patients, the southside hospital said.

A new addition, opening next week, will expand UPH's emergency facility to 33 beds, nine secure evaluation rooms and six trauma rooms, and allow the hospital to seek certification as a Level Three trauma center.

UPH, 2800 East Ajo Way, unveiled the new emergency department at an open house Tuesday.

Having 33 beds "will allow for more space to treat patients," said Dr. Mazda Shirazi, vice chair for emergency medicine at UPH. The hospital plans to expand to 53 beds by early next year. The hospital had 20 emergency beds before the addition.

"With this new facility, we'll be able to provide needed relief to overcrowded emergency rooms in the area, while offering high-quality care for those in need. This is an exciting new addition to our campus," he said.

Touring the new ER on Tuesday were first responders from the Air National Guard, Tucson Airport Fire Department, South Tucson Fire Department, Southwest Ambulance, LifeLine and LifeNet.

The hospital will have the capacity to treat more than the 40,000 emergency and urgent care patients it saw last year, said Mary McDonald, UPH's pre-hospital coordinator. The hospital has seen the number of emergency and urgent patients jump from 30,000 in 2004.

Hospital representatives weren't able to provide information on the project's cost.

UPH's new ER is "three times the size as the old emergency department in square footage," said Daniel Beskind, the hospital's EMS medical director.

The larger facility means UPH is applying for recognition as a Level Three trauma center.

The other hospital run by UA Healthcare, University Medical Center, is the only Level One trauma center of Southern Arizona, said spokeswoman Katie Riley.

"The most seriously injured would go to a Level One," said Riley.

Level three trauma centers take care of the "much less seriously injured," she said.

The most common injuries and illnesses treated at UPH are abdominal pains, chest pains, children's broken bones and psychiatric illnesses, said Shirazi.

"We see everything," he said.

The Level Three designation will be made within a few months by the Arizona Department of Health Services, and verified over three years by the American College of Surgeons, Riley said.

Formerly known as Kino Community Hospital, the hospital came under the management of the University of Arizona-associated physician's group in 2004. UA Healthcare is the result of a 2010 merger between University Medical Center Corp. and University Physicians Healthcare.

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