A pain-free visit to spectacular new hospital

It's not often private companies show off their toys without a charge - especially their multi-million-dollar ones. But on Saturday that's just what the staff of Carson-Tahoe Hospital did for anyone who wanted to come.

Hospital staff were expecting 7,000 visitors for their open house at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, and though all of the landscaping isn't done, the bells and whistles are.

We heard the voice-activated communication system at work where hospital staff can talk to and locate other employees just by asking a little iPod-sized gizmo hanging on their collars or around their necks.

We got to walk into an operating room, which we will never do again. After the hospital opens Dec. 3 it will be gurney rides only in the operating rooms, where all the soon-to-be sterilized trappings are suspended from the ceiling instead of sitting on the floor.

Many may not agree with the hospital trustees' decision three years ago to form the nonprofit private company that took over operations from the county-owned hospital, but we know Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center would not be opening its doors in less than a month if that tough decision had not been made.

Board Trustee Jo Salisbury said this week that before the switch from public to private not only the media, but representatives from competing hospitals, attended the board meetings taking notes on the business of C-TH. Carson-Tahoe representatives and the media were excluded from the other guys' private board meetings.

"How could you do anything?" she asked. "You knew if you said something it would be in the next day's paper."

Today's edition is filled with images and information from Saturday's open house and from a media tour taken Thursday. We've followed the hospital as its made the journey from the turn of a shovel two years ago in an empty lot to a state-of-the-art, 352,000-square-foot medical center with 144 patient rooms and the best views of the Eagle Valley.

Hospital officials want us to remind the public to hold off a little to check out the views from the patient's perspective. The medical center won't open for patients until Dec. 3. They say the closer the building gets to being finished the more folks show up looking for care - it's beautiful, the exterior alone is worth a drive by on Medical Parkway, but its not quite ready for the sick and injured just yet.

Give it another 20 days, doors will open at 8 a.m.


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