‘Wow, beautiful’: Community members glimpse new hospital at open house

Visitors touring the new Stanford Hospital during a weekend open house said they were thrilled to see it and were grateful to know it’s there should they need it.

- By Ruthann Richter

Visitors take in a view of the atrium at the new Stanford Hospital during its community open house, which was held Sept. 14-15.
Steve Fisch

More than 10,000 people of all ages streamed through the new Stanford Hospital during a Sept. 14-15 open house that gave the community its first glimpse of the pristine new medical facility.

Visitors touring the hospital said they were thrilled to see it when they were healthy and grateful to know that it would be there should they need it.

“One of the things that’s been amazing is that as people come through, they are saying, ‘Wow.’ I think people feel they’re part of it — that it’s their hospital. That’s what we hoped to accomplish,” David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, said as he greeted guests in the soaring, light-filled atrium.

The event featured tours of the 824,000-square-foot hospital, which is next to the current hospital on the Stanford campus. It also included a street fair that was particularly popular with children, who stuffed 1,500 teddy bears and dressed them in little hospital T-shirts.  Some youngsters had their faces painted, played an oversized game of Operation, took part in a treasure hunt or petted Moogie, a serene black Labrador retriever who provides comfort to hospital patients. 

Aidan Sharp, 12, of Menlo Park, said the seven-floor hospital was much bigger than he had expected. “It doesn’t seem like an emergency place. It’s so nice,” said Aidan, who came with his father, Christopher Sharp, MD, clinical professor of medicine at Stanford.

Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, said the new hospital will help fulfill the vision of Stanford Medicine, which is to predict, prevent and cure disease with precision.

“With access to Stanford School of Medicine’s breakthrough research and facilities, this hospital will set a new global standard, offering patients the most advanced care in a healing environment created to meet the needs of the whole person — socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically,” Minor said.

How Peter was cared for

During the tour, visitors walked down ivory-colored hallways, past hundreds of donated artworks, to follow the path of a fictitious patient, “Peter,” who was injured in a bicycle accident in Napa Valley. He was flown via helicopter to the hospital’s new, rooftop helistop. Caregivers shown on a video narrated Peter’s progress as he was rushed directly to the new emergency department.

Children play an oversize game of Operation at the open house for the new Stanford Hospital.
Steve Fisch

That stop on the tour particularly impressed Brendalyn Ucol-Co, who is a patient care manager in emergency services. “We’re so happy that it’s finally happening,” said Ucol-Co, who brought her 11-year-old daughter, Clarissa, to the open house.

With the new 45,000-square-foot emergency department, the hospital will have 2 ½ times more space to treat trauma patients and those with urgent needs. Patients will receive care in 66 individual treatment bays, where they can recover in privacy and quiet. The adjoining parking garage can be engineered to be an extension of the emergency department in the event of a disaster, Andra Blomkalns, MD, professor and chair of emergency medicine, noted in a videotaped interview at the entrance to the unit.

Onscreen, caregivers stabilized Peter in the emergency department, then wheeled him into one of the 20 new operating rooms, where he underwent surgery for a punctured lung. There, tour participants viewed the overhead imaging system, where CT and X-ray images will be displayed and magnified up to five times for detail not visible to the naked eye. These digital images can be shared in real time with clinicians elsewhere in the hospital. That will enable surgeons to consult immediately with colleagues while patients are still under anesthesia, making surgeries faster, more efficient and safer for patients, said one of the video narrators.

I think people feel they’re part of it — that it’s their hospital.

After surgery, Peter moved into the intensive care unit, where a critical care nurse assured his wife at the bedside that he was doing well. Like all clinicians in the hospital, the nurse entered the room using an electronic badge check-in system, which tracks personnel throughout the building. Staff also will be equipped with a phone app enabling them to communicate and virtually monitor patients at all times.

During the ICU stop, hospital visitors were introduced to TUG, an autonomous, laser-guided robot, part of a fleet of 28 robots that will transport supplies throughout the medical center. Caregivers can request a piece of equipment online and ask TUG to retrieve it and deliver it to a specific location.

Peter got the care he needed in the ICU and was transferred to one of the hospital’s 368 private rooms to recover.

Seeing a patient room

“Wow, beautiful,” came a chorus of voices, as visitors entered one of the patient rooms and began snapping photos of the view of a tree-lined Welch Road, with the Santa Cruz Mountains in the background. Every room in the hospital comes with full-length windows with views, either of the hills or the bay. And family members are welcome to stay at all times, with a couch that opens out into a bed.

On the third floor, which is completely dedicated to wellness, visitors toured the hospital gardens, four acres of meandering pathways and green space with benches and tables for a quiet respite. “It’s amazing how they take care of people in pain. They provide for their spirit,” said Marie El Khoury of San Mateo as she walked through the gardens on one of the tours. “They give people an opportunity to heal quickly. God bless the hands that provide that.”

On a tour of the new hospital, visitors followed the path of a fictitious patient, “Peter,” who was injured in a bicycle accident.
Steve Fisch

The tour concluded in the hospital’s expansive, circular atrium, with a curved wood and glass ceiling that soars upward, revealing views of the sky and the hospital’s upper floors.

Outside, guests lined up at food trucks, where they filled up on sliders, Korean chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls and Indian curries, provided free by Stanford Health Care. Some stopped at a photo booth to have their pictures taken against a backdrop of the new hospital, while others checked in with the VOICES mural project, in which 4,000 community members, patients and staff created art to represent their vision of health and wellness. The pictures were molded into a digital mosaic commemorating the hospital’s opening. It was unveiled at the open house at a booth where visitors could use a computer to locate their artwork in the final mural.

The hospital is scheduled to welcome its first patients later in the fall, when it will be officially dedicated. For more on the new hospital, visit StanfordHealthCares.org.

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.

2024 ISSUE 1

Psychiatry’s new frontiers