Emergency Room Expansion

There’s more space for the emergency room, and hospital staff says that means better service for area patients.

Suwannee County resident Sean O’Hara says he just had to take his mother to Shands Hospital at Live Oak.

He didn't mind the construction out front because he says the emergency room expansion underway is much needed.

"I think it's a good thing for this town. We're a rural town and we need something good in case of problems that we have here. We won't have to drive all the way to Gainesville or Lake City."

The hospital is adding 3,200 square feet to its emergency room, doubling the size of the department. The ER served 14,000 patients last year.

"Sometimes we're forced to go on diversion, where we can't accept any more ambulances because we're at capacity. That happened about 21 times in 2006."

"The community has really grown in Suwannee County over the past few years and the number of patients we're serving has almost doubled in the ER. So, I think we'll be in a better position to serve all of our clients."

The new area will add six exam rooms specially equipped to provide critical care, a nurse station, a respiratory therapy suite, expanded visitor waiting-room space, offices and a staff lounge.

Hospital clients and staff should be in the new ER by the end of July.