Emergency drill at new Southridge hospital

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldJune 23, 2014 

The emergency department at Trios Southridge Hospital in Kennewick was quiet Monday afternoon until a voice called urgently through the overhead paging system.

"Full trauma activation. ER. Trauma Room B."

A gurney soon burst through the ambulance entrance, carrying a teenage motorcycle crash victim. The girl hadn't been wearing a helmet, and she was seriously hurt.

It was a drill, not real life. The new hospital on Plaza Way near Southridge High School doesn't open until July.

But staffers are in the midst of training to make sure they know every nook and cranny of their new facility before the public debut.

In Trauma Room B, nurses and other clinical staffers worked on their mock patient -- talking to her gently, removing her shoes, draping her with a gown, assessing her injuries. Before long, she was off for a CT scan.

A short time later she was whisked to intensive care.

The drill went well, said Melanie Billingsley, clinical systems trauma nurse coordinator.

"It's very important for us to have these types of drills. (These are) new surroundings. We want to be able to take care of our patients as soon they come in the door," she told the Herald. "These are high-stress type situations, and we need it to be second nature for them to find the equipment that they need to take care of their patients."

Many Trios employees will be moving to the new facility, which opens July 15. It will be Trios Health system's main hospital, with in-patient services from the emergency department to ICU. The existing Trios hospital on Auburn Street will become a women and children's hospital, with services including the birthing center and pediatrics.

Staffers completed orientation in the new hospital earlier this year, with training sessions going on since last week to ensure they know the lay of the land.

Trios Southridge is much bigger than the existing hospital on Auburn Street, with a different layout and new equipment, noted Diane Sanders, chief nursing officer.

"We want to do as much as we can so they are prepared," Sanders told the Herald. She added that staff is excited to move in to the new facility.

The training sessions have included various kinds of code drills, ranging from full traumas like the motorcycle accident scenario to fire and Amber Alert situations.

Sydney Caufield, 15, of Kennewick, has been helping with the training. The daughter of a Trios nurse, she played the motorcycle crash victim Monday. And she's helped with other drills, too.

She said it's exciting to be part of readying the new hospital for its opening. "I feel like I can (navigate) myself through this hospital now," Sydney said.

The four-level, 168,000-square-foot hospital has 74 private patient rooms, plus another 27 emergency and trauma services rooms and six operating rooms.

Other features range from a multi-faith chapel to a gift shop and restaurant. A new medical office building and ambulatory care center also is under construction at the Southridge site. It's to finish next year.

-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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