New Ronald Reagan UCLA medical center opens

LOS ANGELES The old hospital was so damaged by the Northridge quake in 1994, that it was better replaced than repaired. The new hospital is on more solid footing it was built to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. It is on of the first hospitals in the state to meet the new standard.

The sweeping lobby is the entry to a billion dollar hospital built with FEMA, state, and private donor funds. However, many people will not enter through the front entrance.

The most critically injured may be airlifted to the top of the structure, where there are two helipads, or they will arrive by ambulance.

The new trauma unit can handle four patients at once and everything has been designed with location and quick response in mind.

"Probably the most exciting thing is that it has become a key element of rapid trauma care to be able to do a ct scan," said Dr. James Atkinson, who directed the new hospital transition.

Professor Atkinson is also the chief of pediatric surgery, and made sure the new operating rooms would streamline the newest surgical procedures. Cameras are mounted in critical positions.

"It allows us to teach much better," said Atkinson. "Right now I teach my students and my residents by them leaning over your shoulder and watching the operation or trying to observe now we can put it up on a flat screen."

The medical center includes the new Mattel children's hospital, where young patients will find a place made just for them.

Hospital chief executive David Feinberg said the intensive care rooms are deceptively simple in design.

"We had nurses, doctors, patients, families and architects all involved in this" said Feinberg. "Then we built mock rooms across the street to make sure that it would actually work."

With rolling medical equipment designed to disconnect from its core a patient can be moved in 5 minutes instead of the 45 it would take to hook up new equipment.

And the beds not only have a pretty spectacular view they allow doctors and nurses to work easily all around the patient.

Since the hospital is a series of towers, there are no long gloomy corridors outside the patient rooms.

All 520 patient rooms are private and open to family visit 24/7. Meals are delivered when the patient wants to eat.

"We tried to take everything into consideration to focus on healing and make sure that we provide the best way for people to get better," said Feinberg.

The planners believe they are opening a UCLA hospital that matches up to its medical reputation.


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