Porter Got Creative When They Let the Public See the New Valpo ER

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: August 22, 2015

Porter Regional Hospital opened the doors and let the public in to see their newest expansion in Valparaiso. A special “sneak peek” event was held that let everyone see what was new at the Valparaiso Medical Center. Hundreds of curious and excited citizens made the quick trip to the new ER.

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There was so much to see and do. Tours of the new facility, great food, a DJ, bounce houses, Rusty the RailCat made an appearance and a very special Teddy Bear Clinic was put on. Kids were able to see what it’s like to take care of a patient in a very unique way.

Children donned scrubs, surgical masks, and hairnets and were given a teddy bear. The teddy bear was their “patient” and it was their job to take care of them and make them get better. So the young doctors took their teddy bears to different stations and conducted x-rays, gave them shots, checked their blood pressure, and more. When the bears were given a clean bill of health the kids were able to take their new friends home.

“This was a wonderful function that helps the children to understand that everyone in an emergency room is there to help them. Getting dressed up and helping their teddy bears with tests and x-rays was a wonderful idea, a great way for them to learn,” Valparaiso resident Debbie Will said. “And having this facility nearby is so helpful because we don’t have to travel far anymore. The big hospital on Highway 6 is great but it’s far away for some of us.”

“It was wonderful to see the kids so happy with their teddy bears,” Julia Taylor, Valparaiso resident said. “This is home-away-from-home. I have lived in Valpo for the last 20 years and Porter is my hospital. They have helped me a lot and I love that they are closer now.”

The nearly 11,000 square foot expansion took about six months to complete. Walsh Construction took on the project as well as other past projects for Porter.

“They had two existing buildings here that were connected by a corridor,” Mike Deis, Project Manager at Walsh Construction said. “We infilled that corridor and built the east and west sides out. They now have emergency check in, lab, and all the exam rooms on the back… Porter is a great client, a great presence in the community, and they treat us very well. We’re very happy with the final product.”

New features include: 10 exam rooms; easily accessible critical ancillary services - Porter’s new wide-bore MRI, x-ray, low-dose CT scanner, and an expanded lab; a separate entrance and reception area; and of course, Porter’s 30-Minutes-Or-Less ER Service Pledge.

“This has been a great expansion for the citizens of Valparaiso,” Michael Woods, Medical Director for the new ER said. “We will be offering almost all of the same services as we do at ‘the big house’ as we call the main hospital on Highway 6, but if they need something we can’t give them here we will send them to our main campus. We’ll also have the same physicians and nurses working here that we do at the main campus. This way patients will be more familiar with who’s on staff and the physicians will be able to better serve the citizens.”

"We are accredited for stroke, chest pain, and atrial fibrillation," Christine Cowger, Chest Pain Coordinator at Porter Regional Hospital said. "This helps streamline an evidence-based practice so we're using the best guidelines out there to take care of our patients. We were named Best in Class for Chest Pain in all of our Heart Attack Care."

"When we moved the hospital the idea was to be central to all of our communities - Valpo, Chesterton, and Portage - and now people have care close to their homes in each city," Dr. R. Tummuru, Chief Medical Officer and anesthesiologist at Porter Regional Hospital said. "It is definitely great to be able to reach more people."

The new Valpo ER will be open to the public in October 2015. Many citizens are quite happy because the new ER is right in the heart of Valparaiso making it close and convenient.

For more information, visit www.NewValpoER.com