Cutting-edge technology and brand-new facilities do not a Level 1 trauma center make. But they can bring a great deal of efficiency to the process of delivering sensational, compassionate care to patients and loved ones living out their worst nightmares.
Zuckerberg San Francisco General opened the doors of its new, nine-story, seismically safe building in 2016. Trauma surgeon Dr. Peggy Knudson and surgical nurse Ana Claudia Pereira have served the most seriously injured patients of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County for 28 and 10 years, respectively, from the hospital’s emergency department. They agree that the new facility has made a world of difference to their work caring for some of the region’s most vulnerable patients.
Dr. Knudson says that this was never more evident than when the trauma team first encountered young Zachery Vines last September, five months after the new facility opened. Once the surgeon made the instant decision to operate on Zachery, he was taken to the major trauma operating room, which is kept empty, equipped, and always ready for use as needed for major trauma patients.
Everything necessary to giving that patient excellent care is in extreme proximity, however. “Our interventional radiology suite is now situated right next door to our major trauma operating room. That allowed us to wheel Zachery in one door and out the other while still under anesthesia and with the entire operating team in attendance. In essence, it is now an extension of the operating room,” Dr. Knudson says. “When surgery was finished, I headed right out of the other side of the trauma room to the surgical waiting room where his parents were waiting to learn his condition.”
The new emergency department features imaging equipment in every trauma room and identical room layouts to reduce medical errors. It has tripled in size and doubled in capacity. The new facility has three more trauma rooms and 32 additional beds, up from 58 to 116.
ZSFG is Gold LEED-certified (the first trauma center in California) for green-design elements such as the recycled materials used in its construction, water- and energy-conservation features, expanded bicycle parking, and a rooftop garden. The new hospital’s wide, rounded hallways make it easier to navigate hallways with large equipment. Rooms are 90 percent private, allowing patients to recover in solitude.
Pereira finds it comforting even to walk into the entry area of the new facility. “Entering the trauma center is now so calm and peaceful. These public areas feel more isolated and quiet than before,” she says.
Zachery Vines’ mother Kristin says a comfortable space helped make a difference when she faced the unimaginable prospect of losing her young son. During the month Zachery stayed in the hospital, so did Kristin. “I would not, could not leave the hospital,” Vines says. “Zachery’s patient room was large enough that I could stay there comfortably, right there with him in his room.”
Kristin and Jason were thankful their son could recover in a quiet, private space and benefit from the newest technology and advances in trauma patient care. All this gave them confidence he was receiving the absolute best care possible.
Confidence is what Kristin Vines says parents of children who’ve had traumatic injuries need most. “If someone whose child was a new victim of a traumatic injury were to ask me for advice, I’d say: All you need to have is confidence that you are in the right care.
At ZSFG, I never doubted for a second that Zachery was getting the best care possible. You hear people questioning health care and hospitals, or wondering about second opinions,” says Vines. “During the month my son spent at ZSFG, I always had confidence in his physician and every other person there.”