New Duke Medicine Pavilion hosts community health fair

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

The new Duke Medicine Pavilion at the center of Duke’s medical campus opened its doors to hundreds of visitors Saturday morning, offering tours of the state-of-the-art patient rooms, health screenings and information and cake.

The Pavilion will welcome its first group of patients July 27, but the community had a chance to take a first peek of the 608,000-square-foot hospital addition.

Lauren Sapikowski walked around the lobby with her 4- and 7-year-old children. She said her company worked on the signs within the building, and she was showing her family around. She said she spent many late nights in the Pavilion the past two weeks, getting everything ready for the grand opening.

“There’s so many people here, and family members,” Sapikowski said. She motioned to her own family and added, “Seeing it (in person), they’re actually more excited.”

Duke Medicine expected 1,500 people to show up on Saturday. Vendors set up displays on each floor that ranged from thyroid health screenings to Duke pharmacist advice. Cups of pink punch and pieces of white- and blue-iced cake were for the taking.

But couples and families were most drawn to the actual patient wings and operating rooms. On the sixth floor, clinical nurses Leeana Foster and Brennan Davis gave tours of the surgical trauma intensive care unit.

They’re also preparing to move into the Pavilion at the end of July. Foster said she’s most looking forward to the added space.

“Our rooms right now are probably half this size,” Foster said. “With patients who are really sick, it’s hard to work while surrounded by so many machines.”

“It’s bright, there’s big windows,” added Davis.

While they shared information, a group of emergency department staff breezed by in their blue scrubs, also getting an official tour.

On the third floor, pre-operation charge nurse Mary Jane Moseley led families through the pre-op patient rooms and the long hallway of operating rooms.

“Lots and lots of space to get people ready,” Moseley commented. “It’s beautiful, it really is.”

As she waved goodbye to visitors, she joked, “It’s nice to see you. We hope we don’t see you again,” due to the nature of her work. “It’s interesting to have people come in and not do anything to them.”

Dr. Gregory Georgiade, medical director for perioperative services, said he was born in Duke Hospital and that he’s a “lifer.”

The Pavilion and its accompanying technology were built to last for 30 years, he said, and serve as a backbone that could adapt to future health care changes.

“We’ve worked hard to be as close to the edge as we need to be without falling over the cliff,” Georgiade said. “It’s just a different world. We’re very proud of it.”

Out in the waiting room filled with plush chairs bathed in natural light, Millie Perry sat with her friends. She is an operating room charge nurse who’s about to celebrate 40 years with Duke Hospital.

“It makes me proud to see where we’ve come and see where we’re going,” Perry said.