OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City kicked off a new multi-million dollar construction project on Friday.

According to Mercy, the project is to expand the emergency department at its northwest OKC location. The project will add square footage to the ER that will hold a CT scanner and room for more radiology equipment. Currently, ER patients in need of a CT scan have to be moved to a different floor to receive treatment.

ER CT scanner groundbreaking event. Image courtesy Mercy Hospital.
ER CT scanner groundbreaking event. Image courtesy Mercy Hospital.

“We see about 140 patients every day in our ER, and around 60 of them need a CT scan,” said Dr. Lance Watson, department chair of the emergency department at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “This project is so important because the quicker we can get a diagnosis, the quicker we can get patients the treatment they need.”

The hospital says its an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certified by The Joint Commission which is the highest level of stroke certification given to facilities able to treat the most intricate stroke cases. The certification means Mercy is capable of advanced imaging, specialized treatments available 24/7 and well-trained staff with experience to care for patients who have had a stroke.

“For our stroke patients, getting a CT scan that will lead to a diagnosis as quickly as possible is critical to decrease their chances of having long-term disabilities,” said Dr. Bryan Van Zandt, Mercy interventional radiologist.

Officials say CT scans are also needed to treat patients with trauma, abdominal pain, chest pain, migraines and other neurological conditions.

“The hospital was built in the 1970s, long before we had much of the technology we use today in health care,” Dr. Watson said. “Our teams do a phenomenal job working together to make our current process as efficient as possible. But there’s no doubt having a CT inside the ER will be a huge advancement for patient care.”

When construction is finished, the hospital says stroke patients will be taken directly from the ambulance into the CT scanner.

The hospital says the project was made possible by a generous local donor who noticed Mercy’s need for new equipment. Herman Meinders gave $2.6 million to fund the entire project through Mercy Health Foundation.

“Herman is the perfect example of philanthropy at its finest,” said Lori Cummins, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation Communities.

“He sees a need and asks how he can meet it. His generosity is evident all over the campus of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, from the Meinders Neuroscience Institute and Meinders Center for Movement Disorders to the new Love Family Women’s Center and now this ER project. People’s lives will be changed forever because of him. Herman has been a true blessing to Mercy and those we serve.”