Grady plans trauma upgrade

Grady Memorial Hospital plans to spend $12 million to expand and modernize the emergency room and trauma unit of the busiest trauma center in the Southeast, officials said.

The majority of the work is aimed at relocating the trauma unit apart from the emergency room. The trauma unit will expand from four to six bays, said Grady spokesman Matt Gove.

Emergency crews now rush trauma victims through the emergency room area to reach the trauma unit, which can hamper work for both services. The trauma unit can also become cramped during busy times, he said.

“We are adding to our ability to deliver this care,” Gove said.

Grady is the only Level One trauma unit in metro Atlanta, handling many of the serious injuries due to vehicle accidents, household mishaps and violent crime.

The trauma unit, which sees about 4,000 people a year, would be relocated to a nearby area in the downtown Atlanta hospital. This will allow the emergency room to grow by about 10 percent.

The expansion, which requires state approval, is expected to be completed in the late spring. The cost of the renovation would be paid in part by a recent $20 million donation by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot.

Trauma and emergency services at Grady have not seen a major upgrade in 17 years, Gove said. The upgrade will include an eight-bed observation unit and a CT scanner.

Grady’s fundraising campaign has raised $275 million of its goal to collect $325 million for capital improvements. But the hospital continues to struggle to pay for its day-to-day operations, and has decided to outsource its outpatient dialysis services and close the Center Hill neighborhood clinic in west Fulton County.