Health Team

Duke Hospital adds 160 rooms for critically ill patients

Posted June 12, 2013

— Duke's new Medical Pavilion has 608,000 square feet of energy-efficient space, a new ground-floor café and a serene interfaith chapel.

But it’s the 160 critical-care rooms that represent the reason why the facility was built.

“We actually had to turn away over 900 patients who wanted to come to Duke (last year), but I didn’t have the beds available to be able to care for them,” said Kevin Sowers, president of Duke University Hospital.

Sowers said patients and families helped design the new rooms. They are much larger than rooms in Duke North, which was built 30 years ago, and include space for a loved one to stay around the clock.

Families also suggested larger waiting rooms, private family zones, natural light and outdoor greenery.

“They felt that was part of the healing process for them,” Sowers said of patient input on the design.

Duke University Hospital President Kevin Sowers Duke Hospital chief: New ICU rooms match world-class care

Surgeons and medical staff asked for larger operating rooms - there are 18 of them. A new inter-operative MRI can serve either of two operating rooms by moving on ceiling rails. It’s especially helpful for patients with brain tumors.

“They can have their surgery, have the immediate MRI during the time of operation, and then see at that moment if they need more of their brain operated on,” said Dr. Lisa Pickett, general and thoracic surgeon.

The pavilion brings together the latest in surgical imaging and family- and patient-centered health care, and it marks the final phase of Duke's efforts to meet complex medical needs in the community.

“For the first time, for the world-class care that we deliver here, we now have a facility that will match that world-class care,” Sowers said.


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  • whatelseisnew Jun 17, 2013

    Course I do wonder, did they invest in one of those controlled air environments that effectively keep the air inside the hospital pure? Much more important than a place to charge cell phones.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 17, 2013

    Given the prices that Duke charges at the very least they can provide decent space for patients. Course it would be nice if every one was paying for the care they receive, but that would be fair and we do not want that to happen.

  • jannita Jun 14, 2013

    "a more frugal manner? ...The rooms should be basic." outhousecat

    Go tomorrow to tour the facility during the community open house. I toured yesterday. Recently, my husband was admitted to the hospital on a Fri. & was discharged on Sun. pm. His room had his bed, a tv & a recliner. The window was behind the recliner. If the recliner was reclined, there wasn't enough room for the nurse to get into the bathroom. I had to plug my cell phone in with the rest of the medical equipment. It was very basic. The new rooms have good window views. There's a built-in window seat that folds down into a bed for a family member w/o taking up any more room. There's a place for cell phone charging. That area has a privacy curtain. There's a reclining chair, so that if the patient is up in a chair, the family member doesn't have to sit on the bed. It is still definitely a hospital room, not a hotel. Improvements don't have to mean extravagence. I think the new addition is wonderful.

  • princessnise Jun 14, 2013

    MarvinsWife12: Nicely worded and I couldn't agree more on all your points.

    Many people do not realize how surroundings are an important part of the healing process. Attitude and atmosphere are nearly as important as the medicine.

  • Quagmire Jun 14, 2013

    most of their faculty see pateints at the the VA marvinswife12

    So they moonlight.

  • MarvinsWife12 Jun 13, 2013

    1. Duke does support veterans, most of their faculty see pateints at the the VA.

    2. outhousecat, no, a "more basic facility" would not do as Duke doesn't not see bread and butter type patients that Duke Raleigh or Durham Regional does. Duke sees the sickest of sick patients.

    The pavilion was going to be built, however, it was really nice that several different walks of life were invited to give thoughts on the design of the hospital. This is not a 5-star hotel, but rather the type of facility you would want a family member who is critically ill to be in.

    3. Shame on you WRAL for not getting information straight in this video. Dr. Pickett is NOT a thoracic surgeon. She is a general surgeon.

    4. Back to outhouse, healthcare costs are through the roof because doctors feel the need to order every test under the sun so as to prevent themselves from being sued. You can thank people like John Edwards for this!

  • outhousecat Jun 13, 2013

    I'm sure this is a nice facility. However, with healthcare costs going through the roof, wouldn't a more basic facility have served patients' needs in a more frugal manner?

    We Americans need to get out of the idea that hospitals are 5-star hotels. The rooms should be basic, with a window, a bathroom, a bed, recliner for family and a tv. Anything else just increases the cost. And nurses should not be expected to act as waitresses just so the hospitals all-important patient surveys rank high.

    For-profit hospitals are killing us all. And don't let them fool you. They're all for-profit, whether declared or not.

  • cushioncritter Jun 13, 2013

    The "serene interfaith chapel" is for patients with major medical needs and poor insurance reimbursement (i.e. Medicare). The Duke chaplains will distribute booklets on "death with dignity" to these negative-profit-margin patients so that they do not tie up beds that could be occupied by younger patients with minimal nursing needs (higher profit margin patients).

  • Quagmire Jun 12, 2013

    Duke please support our veterans by accepting Tricare. Thanks.