Stellar vision leads to masterpiece of new hospital for Carson

You've read all about the new Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. You've likely seen it, perhaps being one of the 7,000 people - nearly 13 percent of our city's population - who attended the open house last weekend. It was like a small city within a city.

About two months ago, I was given a tour of the new complex by its CEO, Ed Epperson.

With hard hat firmly positioned on my hard head, we walked through the powdery passages of its floors, draped with thick plastic sheets, all plaster-dusted and paint splattered; the sounds of power drill gyrations, spark-spitting saws, metal-to-metal slams, boot cleats clanging against iron scaffold rails. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought you were standing at an intersection in New York City, midday, summertime.

Then, depending on the floor we were on and the unit we were in, there was deadened calm. And with the hard hat feeling more like a miner's cap, I could have been deep inside the veins of an old Virginia City silver mine. But I could still see beyond all that I was looking at, and listen to more than what I was hearing. This was soon to be the pride of Carson City. The pride of Northern Nevada.

This was what Ed Epperson saw in his stellar vision more than a decade ago. This would be like no medical center most Nevadans had ever seen before.

Two months later, I was invited to the VIP reception to unveil this architectural masterpiece. A construction of medical majesty. When I walked through its front doors on the Friday evening of Nov. 11, I thought I was walking through a Steve Wynn hotel.

This is the hospital?! My jaw dropped down to my chest. Man, I'm booking a room tonight! And if that doesn't work, maybe I could fake an injury. Nah ... They'd just cart me over to the old hospital. All right, so I'll wait a few weeks when the new place is fully staffed, equipment is charging hard, and ... and ... the rooms are open for business. Those rooms ... Those beautiful, beautiful rooms.

And then I thought, What am I talking about? This is a hospital, you idiot. Not a hotel. Not a nightclub. Yes, the rooms are that nice.

Well, I'd rather see the hospital on my own accord rather than down on my back looking up at a half-masked face who's telling me to count backwards from 100 as the lights fade to pre-birth darkness.

At the VIP reception, I could recognize a few areas I had walked through two months ago. But the one striking image I could not forget was the main lobby - the out-patient services lobby that extends 400 feet. When Ed led me through it two months ago, I remember saying, "This is like Versailles!" Or maybe it was like some long courtyard that I'd expect in a European village. And that's with dust lacings and construction fragments covering the walls and floor!

But when I saw it for the second time, I couldn't believe it was the same place I had seen just two months before. It is an experience. Even the colors are coordinated to raise spirit and ignite happiness as best as one could expect in a hospital environment. Spirit is what can lift you when faced with the urgency of medical attention.

When suggested that the new medical center is a sure-lock on his legacy, Ed looks the other way. He simply believes it was just the right thing to do. A recommendation he made upon his arrival to Carson-Tahoe Hospital. And when it is also suggested that it was his vision that first scoped the project and guided it to its destination point, he is quick to place his team first in front.

Well then, I guess I'll just have to say it for him. Ed, it was your vision. Your will. Your conviction. Your team was behind this mega-watt project. And they were behind you - all of the way - taking your lead, and following the light of your vision. And that alone says something about you and your organization. And your legacy.

n John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at


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