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New hospital opens Friday in Murrieta

April 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new hospital will help answer the need for more medical care in one part of Southern California. Loma Linda University Medical Center's Murrieta branch opens Friday.

The new Loma Linda University Medical Center in Murrieta has yet to officially open. The beds are all empty. There's not a single patient inside. But that will all change Friday morning when the hospital will finally be ready for business.

It is exciting for employees who will be closer to home.

"I can't believe that I'm working six miles from home instead of 100 miles roundtrip," said nurse Susy Velasquez.

It's also exciting for local residents, who will now be closer to a hospital.

"It gives you some kind of security that you have something close by, and we're looking forward to it," said Sun City resident Brigitte Rathbone.

It's one part of the Inland Empire that's in dire need of more hospitals. The state average is 2.2 hospital beds for every thousand residents.

But in the Murrieta-Temecula area, that number is 1.05 beds per thousand people.

Some area residents have had to wait hours just to get into a hospital emergency room.

"Well I had a friend who fell and she went in around 3, and it was around 11 o'clock before they got to her," said Menifee resident Diana Hobbs.

When the hospital opens on Friday it will mean an additional 19 emergency room beds, not enough to completely take care of the demand in the area, but it will help a lot.

"It certainly is not the total answer to healthcare needs in this community, but it will give greater access and I believe that it will make a significant difference in the availability for our citizenry," said the hospital's president and chief executive officer, Bruce Christian.

The new hospital opens at 8 a.m. Friday.