TULSA, Oklahoma - You can sometimes wait a long time in Tulsa emergency rooms to get the care you need, but one Tulsa hospital is hoping its new addition will help change that.

Saint Francis Hospital hosted the grand opening of its new Trauma Emergency Center and Patient Tower Wednesday.

The new facility comes with a wide range of state-of-the art equipment and a massive trauma unit, and doctors say it will make emergency room care faster.

"We have the capability of seeing so many more patients in the emergency department that we will actually be able to offload the waiting room and get people back to a room,” said Dr. Robert Goodwin, with Saint Francis.

Get them back to a room and, hopefully, that much closer to feeling better.

While wait times can vary, research through The Center for Medicare and Medicaid estimates Oklahomans, on average, wait 24 minutes in the ER; that's just below the national average of 28 minutes.

Saint Francis Hospital is hoping to make that wait better and the stay more comfortable.

Chief Nurse Executive, Lynn Sund said, "Generally what wait times are associated with are hospitals that run at high occupancy levels, which means there's not a bed available upstairs to move a patient into that's going to be admitted to the hospital. So that's the whole point in opening the new tower."

They opened the new patient tower and trauma center, as well as a separate pediatric care emergency center geared towards kids and their families.

"It has its own waiting room. It's completely segregated off from the rest of the adult population,” Sund said.

It helps to keep the needs of kids and adults separate and keep patients on the move to the right locations.

"When a patient needs to leave the emergency department there's not going to be a hold because they're waiting for a room to open up on a floor,” Goodwin said. “They're going to have more expansion now therefore, that patient is going to be seen in the emergency department and then should go right up."

The new eight-story, 500,000-square-foot building is the hospital's largest expansion since it opened in 1960.

The facility also contains:

  • Four trauma/resuscitation rooms
  • 12 acute/critical care rooms
  • 39 adult general medicine stations
  • Four triage stations
  • One decontamination room
  • Ability to expand to 114 clinical stations during disaster events
  • Two CT suites, two radiology rooms and one cath lab
  • An ambulance bay designed to accommodate up to 14 ambulances at one and area that can convert for mass casualty response

It's designed to serve an average of more than 300 patients a day, the hospital website states.

An open house for the public is planned from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, September 7.