Published in The World Journal
On January 18, 2021, a group of healthcare professionals, local political leaders, and the Trinidad-Las Animas Chamber of Commerce gathered outside Mount San Rafael Hospital. They were there to celebrate the hospital's expansion. Mount San Rafael CEO John Tucker recalled the hospital's renovation initially looked like a long shot. Architects advised that the best solution was to tear down the old facility and build a new $90 million facility. Instead, Mount San Rafael built out - and on top of - the existing emergency medicine suite. Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the US Department of Agriculture provided the hospital with financial assistance through grants and loans to undertake this expansion.
The first floor of the 33,000 square foot expansion adds a wide variety of tools for patient care. First responders will have access to a set of wide double doors to wheel patients to the emergency room. Nearby is a multi-patient trauma suite. In vehicle collisions, more than one individual experiences catastrophic trauma. A multi-patient trauma room means Mount San Rafael will be able to handle the caseload.
Nearby on the first floor is a negative-pressure isolation room for infectious diseases or exposure to volatile chemicals. As demonstrated by COVID-19, the need for infection control is growing due to the expected rise in pandemics. This isolation room, and the nearby decontamination room for medical providers, helps segregate potentially dangerous patients from others seeking healthcare.
Many sexual assault cases begin in hospital emergency rooms. Mount San Rafael included a sexual assault forensic examination ("SAFE") suite with enhanced privacy features as part of the expansion. With a door specially designed to block observation of patients from those passing in the nearby hallway and separate spaces for hygiene post-examination, the suite can minimize the secondary trauma of a post-rape medical examination.
Before its expansion, Mount San Rafael's radiological imaging department suffered due to a lack of space. The hospital now includes an improved medical imaging and mammography section that will provide patients with the ability to receive MRIs, X-Rays, and other diagnostic procedures without utilizing a trailer (as was the case before the expansion).
On the second floor of the Mount San Rafael expansion, patient rooms have been redesigned to be more welcoming to patients and their families. The new patient rooms have enhanced lighting and features like couches that convert into mini-beds for family members.
Additionally, the second floor of the expansion includes an infusion space for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Hospital staff report that they consider eliminating patient travel to chemotherapy centers in Pueblo a priority for Mount San Rafael. County Commissioner Felix Lopez sees this expansion and the associated goal of reducing patient travel to Pueblo as a signal. "It represents a major economic milestone," Lopez said at the ribbon-cutting. Lopez stated he believed it would show other tech and medical sector businesses that Trinidad is undergoing an economic revival.