Aaron Young had appendicitis one week and his hand got slammed in a door the next.
It would be an extraordinary string of bad luck if it were real. But Young was feigning the ailments to help staff at the new Kadlec emergency room in Kennewick prepare for actual patients next week.
The standalone emergency department -- the only one of its kind in Eastern Washington -- opens Monday at Highway 395 and West 19th Avenue, near Southgate Elementary School.
A ribbon-cutting is at 11 a.m. Wednesday; public tours are available until 8 p.m.
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Staff members the last few weeks have been doing practice runs using mock patients, many of whom -- like Young -- work at the new facility.
Young, of Benton City, is a security officer.
On Tuesday morning, he walked up to the check-in desk and explained about his hand.
Soon, he was ushered into an exam room.
The $17 million, 21,500-square-foot emergency department has 15 exam rooms, plus a multipurpose room with three more exam bays. It also has state-of-the-art equipment and a design aimed at improving efficiency and speed of care.
Moments after Young sat down on a bed, a physician, a nurse and a tech poured in at once.
The so-called "swarm" is a key part of how the department will operate. "It cuts down on a lot of the wait time for a patient," who typically would make several stops during an ER visit and tell his or her story multiple times, to different staffers, said Carla May, emergency department manager.
"Patients come here to see a doctor; that's who they want to see. So we want to put the doctor to the patient as quickly as possible. The more we can swarm, the more unnecessary time we can cut out for the patient," May told the Herald.
She also talked about the emergency department's physical layout, with -- for example -- highly used supplies placed in the rooms so nurses don't have to keeping going in and out.
"When we designed this, we designed it around our processes," May said.
As she talked, a tech moved a portable X-ray machine into Young's room and simulated taking images of the security officer's hand. A lot of time is spent moving patients, "so if we can do as much in the room as possible, that's our goal," May said.
May has hired about 45 staffers -- from nurses to social workers to registrars to housekeepers -- for the new emergency department. Physicians will rotate between the Kennewick facility and Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
The Richland hospital's emergency room was built for 50,000 visits a year but sees more than 60,000, with patients coming from Richland and beyond, including Kennewick and parts of Oregon, Kadlec officials told the Herald.
Dr. Holly Cooper, who participated in Tuesday's simulation, said staffers at the Kennewick site are ready for next week. "We look forward to opening. ... I will be delighted to see the response in the community," she said.
Another medical facility also is coming to the Southridge area. Kennewick General Hospital's new 74-bed Southridge hospital and emergency room is under construction and is expected to open next year.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; email@example.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald