Hospital's new critical care building open to public
The largest health capital project in Manitoba history, a $135 million addition to Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre, was officially opened on Thursday, although it's not ready to treat patients yet.
The Ann Thomas building on William Avenuewill house emergency departments, intensive care units and surgical suites for children and adults. It includes an operating room specifically for trauma cases, a coronary-care unit, a post-anesthesia care unit, and a 10-person burn unit.
The hospital will start using its patient facilities later this month. Public toursof the buildingwill continue until 4 p.m. on Friday.
"The public has a right to see their tax dollars at work and the patient care priorities we have," Premier Gary Doer said at the opening ceremony, which was also attended by several provincial cabinet ministers.
Construction of the buildingbegan in May 2003 and was completed in September 2006. The 286,000 square-foot, three-storeyfacility connects to all existing buildings at the hospital.
The first patients in the new facility will be children.
Doer said the new children's departments will be more family friendly with twice as much space and increased staffing.
The move to the new building is expected to take three to four months.
"We think the investments we're going to make into equipment and into the capital here for the trauma centre here in Manitoba will go along with the world-class staff we have working in this complex," Doer said.
Facility named for pioneering aboriginal nurse
The building's namesake, Ann Thomas Callahan, was also at Thursday's official opening.HSCchose tohonourCallahan, one of the first aboriginal nurses to graduate from the nursing program at Winnipeg General Hospital, for her lifelong dedication to healing, wellness, and learning.
Callahanstarted working on the gynecology ward at the Women's Pavillion after her graduation in 1958 and wassoon promoted to head nurse. In 1973, she accepted a position at Continuing Care for People in Need, which provided services toclients in Winnipeg's inner city, whereHSC is located andwhich has a large aboriginal Canadian population.
She becamea nursing instructor at Red River College in 1983.
Callahan, 71, said that her aboriginal spirituality helped her throughout her nearly 40-year career.
"Not until the '70s was there a renaissance of aboriginal spirituality, but certainly I lived it in my heart, when I was a nurse at the bedside table."