Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center Opens New 52-Bed ICU

Staff at Lee Health's Gulf Coast Medical Center celebrate the opening of the hospital's new 52-bed intensive care unit
Staff at Lee Health's Gulf Coast Medical Center celebrate the opening of the hospital's new 52-bed intensive care unit.

The new ICU is part of the hospital’s $347 million expansion. Later this year, Lee Health plans to bring over its trauma center from Lee Memorial.

Staff at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center, on Wednesday, celebrated the opening of the hospital’s new 52-bed intensive care unit.

The new ICU is part of the hospital’s $347 million expansion.

Dr. Jonathan Velez, vice president of operations and chief physician executive at Gulf Coast Medical Center, says the expansive unit encompasses two floors.

“So on the third floor, it will be around neurology, stroke care and a variety of other neurologic needs will be able to be met there. And then on the second floor, medical and surgical patients in general will be able to get their care there. So it’s really expanding our capabilities,” said Velez.

The new unit, which opened ahead of schedule, more than doubles the hospital’s intensive care patient capacity from 36 to 88 beds. Both floors of the unit include two negative air pressure rooms for treating patients with infectious diseases, a bariatric lift room and physical therapy substations.

Later this year, Lee Health plans to transfer its trauma center from Lee Memorial Hospital to Gulf Coast Medical Center in the health system’s effort to make Gulf Coast the leading medical health care center in Lee County.

The final phase of expansion involves preparing the first floor of the hospital’s new north tower, just below the new ICU. Velez says the first floor will include a variety of patient services.

“We’ll have state-of-the-art endoscopy labs. We’ll also have state-of-the-art dialysis bays so we’ll be able to expand the amount of dialysis that we can do here for inpatients here at Gulf Coast Medical Center,” said Velez.

The first floor will also include a simulation lab, primarily for educational purposes.

Velez said the simulation lab will also have, “the ability to create a room that is modeled after real patient rooms, whether it be in the ICU or in the Emergency Department or just a standard acute care bed, and then apply to that simulation technology so we can start training staff and providers to care for certain medical conditions in a simulated controlled environment as opposed to having that first time be with a real patient in a real environment.”

The final phase of the expansion project is slated to be complete in May.

Copyright 2021 WGCU.