BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Residents in North Baton Rouge are getting a new emergency room, one that hospital officials say they really needed.
There hasn't been an ER in the area since 2013, when Earl K Long Hospital closed.
"Heart attack or a stroke, or if you have a trauma associated with it, so time does matter," said Our Lady of the Lake CEO Scott Wester. "Having
emergency room services that might be 5 to 15 minutes closer than what they otherwise might be is going to be lifesaving."
Our Lady of the Lake and the state entered a public-private partnership to fund the $5.5 million project. Both Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome were at the ceremony.
Weston Broome says she's heard concerns from homeowners. "Undoubtedly, there has been a need and the citizens have been communicating that need, so this is a response to a very significant area of healthcare for our community," Weston Broome said.
Residents in the neighborhood near the location on Airline Hwy. say they're happy to see this need met. "It's good because you know, you won't have to go on the other side of town," said homeowner, Anthony Bankston "It was bad when they tore the old Earl K. Long down. You know, you got a lot of sick people around here."
"We have to go way down on Bluebonnet," said homeowner, Irene Shelmire. "That's where I go, you know, to the hospital there. So it's very important for us to have this closer by us where we will have somewhere to go."
The facility will be attached to the LSU Health Clinic. It will have 11 treatment rooms, and doctors expect to see approximately 11,000 patients in the first year of operation.
"We will start off with a couple of physicians supported by nurse practitioners and associates, and then we'll add as the volume goes up," said Dr. Shammi Kataria.
The building is expected to be finished by October of this year.