Cumberland Times-News


November 21, 2009

‘History in the making’

Transition ‘smooth’ for new Western Maryland Regional Medical Center


“Over the last two years we’ve had teams of people actually going into hospitals all around the country and assessing their moves,” Ronan said, adding that teams from hospitals in Washington County and Harrisonburg, Va., were at WMRMC Saturday to do the same.

“In fact, a year and a half ago, we also did two hospitals being consolidated into one hospital, similar to what we’re doing here,” Ronan said. “That was very helpful. That actually gave us the idea that we could in fact do this in one day.”

By 3:30 p.m. Saturday, all 154 patients had been transferred — 92 from Braddock and 62 from Memorial, said Ronan, who’s never been involved with such a massive endeavor.

“I’ve been involved in wings of hospitals and parking structures and conference centers,” said a fatigued, but ecstatic Ronan. “I haven’t gotten much sleep in the last couple months.”

Anticipation of the move has kept other staffers on edge, as well. Lonnie Gray and several coworkers from Laboratory Services took a break Saturday afternoon in the new hospital’s sprawling cafeteria, with multiple grills and drink stations. On opening day, food was free to everyone.

“I think it’s kind of a relief,” Gray said of accomplishing the move. For the last several years, Lab Services workers have floated between Braddock and Memorial hospitals, she said.

“We’re like, yay! We’re finally open,” Gray said. “We’re all together.”

For nursing student Taylor Crabtree, visiting the new hospital on opening day was inspiring. With other Allegany College of Maryland students, he spent time with patients before and after their moves, helping them adjust to their new environment.

“One was kind of nervous, but the others seemed to be coping well with the big shift,” said Crabtree, who is doing his clinical work at Garrett Memorial Hospital and was impressed by the size and scope of the new hospital.

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