A baby and her mother were the first two patients to be transferred Sunday, to the new $3.6 billion Université de Montréal hospital complex, the CHUM.
Ophelia, a newborn, and her mother Fatima Radics were among 109 patients who re-located from the Saint-Luc Hospital on René-Lévesque Boulevard, early Sunday morning.
CHUM director of communications Irène Marcheterre explained, “we closed the emergency at Saint-Luc at 5 a.m. and we opened the new one at 5 a.m., but the actual patient transfer began at 7 a.m.”
The operation was nothing like that of the Royal Victoria Hospital two years ago, when teams of ambulances ferried patients more than five kilometers away to the new McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
In Sunday’s transfer, the new CHUM and Saint-Luc Hospital are adjacent, so patients were moved, mostly by wheelchair, via a walkway connecting the two facilities.
“After the transfer today we’re going to close that pathway right away and Saint-Luc will be closed,” Marcheterre explained. “Then we’re going to give the key to our consortium to begin the demolition.”
Sunday’s transfer still meant moving a lot of sick people, including four patients from the intensive care and five babies. It meant disrupting rest and routine to make all of it happen.
“They’re not happy, that’s for sure, because they’re sick,” grinned Roland Brouillettebut, a volunteer at the CHUM, “but they were quiet.”
Patrick Moriarty, president of Health Care Relocations — the group tasked with organizing the transfers — agreed that there were many challenges.
“The idea that we have to maintain urgent and emergent care at all times is the main focus, and not adversely affect patient care are the two biggest challenges.”
The key, he said, is in the planning, which started two years ago.
About 600 staff and volunteers were divided into 16 teams to execute the detailed transfer — and by 10:15 am, it was all done.
There are still two more transfers planned to the new CHUM. Patients from the Hotel-Dieu Hospital are scheduled to move on Nov. 5, and then those from Notre-Dame Hospital are expected to be transferred Nov. 26.
And after all the transfers were completed Sunday, another newborn came into the picture at the CHUM. The first baby, a boy, was born via cesarean section, at 12:30 p.m.