By Jen Kastner
MARTIN COUNTY- A state-of-the-art hospital opens at midnight on Monday in Stanton.
Boxes are being unloaded and workers are still adding on the finishing touches, yet this new hospital already far outshines the old one.
The new Martin County Hospital was built in just 13 months. It's four times bigger than the old hospital, which was built more than 60 years ago.
Martin County Hospital CEO Paul McKinney says, "The patient would walk into a room and they'd think they were back in the 1950's. No one wanted to go to those rooms. No one wanted to be a patient in the hospital."
Everything seems to be bigger and better at the new facility.
McKinney says, "We have radiology and we've expanded that. We have respiration therapy and we've expanded our lab and our operating room."
The emergency room is a giant step up from the old one. It's not equipped to handle major traumas, but it's a good, safe place to stabilize patients before sending them to major trauma centers in bigger cities. The hospital even has a helipad for transfers. At the old location, cones were set up on the street and traffic was blocked.
Rick Arguello has spent three years working as a nurse at the old location. When he first saw the old building, his jaw dropped.
He says, "That was the kicker, you know, the equipment looked like, 'Oh my god, what am I going to work with here?'"
After Monday, working there will be a thing of the past for Arguello. "I'm really excited about it. I'm ready to move because it's going to be a new challenge. It will be a modern facility with the most modern stuff we can have and I'm sure looking forward to helping the community here," Arguello said.
An overwhelming majority of voters approved the bonds to build the new hospital, which carries a price tag of almost $23 million.