Hospital staff pose for this photo of the new Emergency Room in 1979. (Photo Courtesy of Cunnyngham Studio Archives)
New Emergency Room replaces Outdated 1957 E.R.
The feature photo above shows the brand-new Emergency Room at the Rhea County Hospital in early 1979. When the hospital was built in 1957, the trend towards the heavy use of emergency rooms had not started. The original emergency room, which was only 225 square feet, could only accommodate one patient at a time with only one treatment table. It was not designed to handle major emergencies that could have brought in more than one patient at a time to the hospital.
In order to handle this possible situation, the hospital had converted three patient rooms into an overflow emergency area which allowed more patients in case a major accident. Designed in part with the 1978 hospital addition, the new 1134 square foot emergency room was designed to handle 5 patients at a time under routine conditions but had enough space to handle more if the need arose. It also contained office space for a physician plus a separate waiting area of 560 square feet for patients and relatives.
This emergency room, along with the entire hospital, was used until August of 2007 when the new Rhea County Medical Center was opened just a couple of miles north of this facility. The old hospital site was later chosen to be the site for the new Rhea County Justice Center.
The original 1957 portion of the building was demolished, leaving the 1978 edition for renovation into the plans of the new Justice Center. The emergency room pictured above was redesigned and is now the intake area for the Rhea County Jail.
The trauma rooms pictured above, now after redesign holds incarcerated inmates after being arrested. As we take time to stop and observe this photo, it was here in these trauma rooms that so many of our loved ones were treated for both minor and life-threatening emergencies throughout the years. We are grateful to all the men and women who have worked in this old facility serving our citizens for so many years.
The Emergency Room photo above is shown in these three photos below during construction of the new Justice Center.
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