Reactions from the steady stream of guests who attended the community open house at Wood County Hospital on Sunday can be summed up in one word: Awe.
Tours of the $42 million expansion's spacious operating suites, new Women's Center and 56 private inpatient rooms evoked descriptions such as "fabulous," "impressive" and even "flabbergasting." [SEE PHOTO GALLERY]
"There's so much that is new to this hospital. It's beautiful. I love it," stated Diana Domer of Grand Rapids Township. She particularly liked the privacy of the separate room in the Women's Center where patients can get educated about their procedures.
"I don't want to try it out, but it's nice to look at, and I think it'll be nice if you have to be here," Emma Lashaway of Weston Township observed during her tour.
"It's fabulous. It's just wow," stated Sharon Stratmann of Bowling Green, even before she and her husband, Gary, completed their tour. "It's so big. The technology is amazing."
Afterwards, Stratmann said he was pleased with the different colors used. "It is bright and cheery, not dreary."
Speaking from experience as a former patient at a large Toledo hospital, Janey Turoczy of Weston said that site was "nothing like this." She was impressed with the large operating suites and the private inpatient rooms.
"It is just completely, completely flabbergasting," she stated. "If I had to go to a hospital, I'd rather come here."
Several visitors, like Dan Carpenter of Bowling Green, commented about the new inflatable, warming hospital gowns. Patients are given the gowns to wear in their pre-op rooms for use through surgery and post-op. The gowns inflate with circulating warm air when a small hose is attached to a connector on the garment.
Karen Kelly of Van Wert highlighted not only the gowns, but the expansion's access to the outside so guests can see the ground level trees and landscaping. She was delighted hearing details about the surgery suites, such as oxygen and water in tubes in the ceiling. "Who thought through all these details?" she marveled.
Ed Mahler of Weston recalled visiting his wife, Angie, when she had several surgeries at the hospital. He described the new expansion as "pretty impressive. It's comparable to anything in Toledo, and you still have nicer people, it seemed to me, when I've been here." Mahler is pleased the private rooms allow family members to stay in them, and patients don't feel institutionalized.
"I'd be happy to come back here," said Angie Mahler. "It's not scary. Everything looks warm and comfortable." As to the private rooms, "you need that when you don't feel well. You need that space to yourself."
Lisa Belkofer is a registered nurse from Perrysburg who works at the hospital. She said if people previously had negative thoughts about the hospital, the expansion should change them. "This just makes it very modern and state-of-the-art. It's very impressive."
Her mother, Zoe Pfouts of Bowling Green, is pleased the digital mammography in the Women's Center helps relieve patients' anxiety by not requiring a second procedure.
The water wall in the main waiting room, the leaves in the flooring and the private rooms all impressed Stephanie Palmer, 17, of Bowling Green. "The individual rooms mean that you have more privacy. ... It's just more spacious."
But for her cousin, Brock Goris, 13, of Portage, it was the technology in the operating suites which interested him. The new scopes were demonstrated which allow surgeons to view inside of their patients on a video screen.
The same technology wowed Tim Johnson of Weston. "It's all right there in front of them. I think me and Dave (Apple) could both be surgeons now," he quipped, referring to the friend seated next to him.
Johnson also liked the use of nature throughout the interior and exterior. "It's already like it's always been here and blended in with everything."
"The best thing here is not having to use those rooms," stated Apple, "but I'm glad they're there." He likes that patients don't have to be bothered at night by nurses who can peer at them through small windows.
Tom Wildman of Bradner relished the new color scheme, particularly the large waiting room on the first floor. "The older part of the hospital was kind of dull. This here is all bright colors. It's more comfortable for families here with a patient."
"It's just unreal how far Wood County (Hospital) has come," stated his wife, Linda.
"Everything you see will tell you how it enhances patient comfort, patient safety, patient healing," said Dr. Michael Lemon. "As a consumer and physician, I think it's just wonderful."
In addition to his wife, the former Alicia Coup, being a native of Bowling Green, the expansion is a big reason Dr. Shawn Stansbery chose to work at the hospital last fall when he had another option. "I liked the direction this hospital is going. It is a vibrant and growing one."
Hospital expansion adds to area's quality of life
"A gemstone in our quality of life."
"A celebration about what is right in Bowling Green and our community."
"A state-of-the-art expansion that'll allow us to grow and change with the community as it grows and changes."
Speakers at the dedication of Wood County Hospital's $42 million expansion on Sunday had many different ways to describe it, including some laced with humor.
"It's wonderful to have a place like this," stated U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. "This is what makes a community great. This is what makes people want to stay in a community like this."
After telling the standing-room-only crowd that both of their daughters were born there, he added a family story which occurred six years ago. On the very day Marcia Latta was at the hospital having outpatient surgery, her husband arrived in the Emergency Department with an appendicitis attack.
Both ended up inpatients in the same room. When Marcia Latta "came to" from her procedure, she saw her husband and asked what he was doing there.
"You said you wanted a long weekend," he replied.
"Thanks for the idea," quipped Master of Ceremonies Jerry Anderson when Latta finished his comments. "Terry and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary. I'm thinking about a 'getaway weekend' at the hospital."
Earlier, in his introduction, Anderson called the expansion "a gemstone in our quality of life."
"It's so fantastic to see what's been done here at our Wood County Hospital," he observed. "Someone said to me, 'It's so nice, Jerry, it makes you want to get sick.'"
President Stan Korducki said the expansion brings not only "new resources for patient care," but matches it "with the touch and talent our staff brings to you each and every day."
He introduced several people who were key to the entire process, and noted Bostleman, manager of construction, brought the project "in on time and on budget."
"On time and on budget?" repeated Anderson, looking at Bostleman's representative. "Bob (Latta) wants to take you back to Washington."
Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, presented a commendation to Korducki on behalf of the Ohio House of Representatives.
"What today is, is a celebration about what is right in Bowling Green and our community, and how we come together," Gardner stated. He announced Korducki has been chosen chairman of the Ohio Hospital Association and praised him for his leadership, especially in such challenging times when the last state budget imposed hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes on hospitals.
In her comments, Chief of Staff Dr. Elizabeth Horrigan stated that the workers' care, which she saw given to patients, is what made her choose Wood County as a physician. She has been on staff for 10 years and said it is the only hospital at which she plans to work.
"Everybody involved in running the hospital ... is here to provide excellent patient care. That's their primary goal, and I'm not sure it's shared by the city hospitals around us."
Horrigan added, "It's amazing to see all the blueprints, models and designs turn into this place. It's not just a facility. It's a state-of-the-art expansion that'll allow us to grow and change with the community as it grows and changes."
Speaking as chairman of the hospital's board of trustees, Jim Carter reported that, at first, members were worried about raising the $42 million needed for the project. "How can we do it in this (economic) time? But when we went out for the money, the rates were excellent. When we went for bids, they were lower than expected."
Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown, during a presentation from him, Alvie Perkins and Carter, praised the long-term investment the expansion had on the local economy, not only providing jobs for people in construction trades, but adding health care workers.
"With the vast array of additional services provided to our citizens, we now have more choices to choose Wood County Hospital for our care," he said.
Prior to his comments that the expansion adds so much to the quality of life in the community, Bowling Green Mayor John Quinn picked up the huge ceremonial scissors used for the ribbon-cutting and announced he was going to do an appendectomy on Perkins, which guests could observe.