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James Cancer Hospital prepares for hundreds of patients to move in

The new James Canter Hospital. Credit: Melissa Prax / Lantern photographer

The new James Canter Hospital.
Credit: Melissa Prax / Lantern photographer

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s new James Cancer Hospital opened its doors to the community for an open house on Sunday.

The $750 million building, part of a $1.1 billion Medical Center renovation plan,will see its first patients next month.

On Dec. 12, about 60 intensive care unit patients will be moved from the older buildings into The James. The following day, an additional 200 patients will added. Lastly, on Dec. 14, the whole building will be fully functioning – from operating rooms to cafeterias, said Dr. Richard Goldberg, physician-in-chief at The James and professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.

“We have hundreds of people that are getting ready to plan (the move),” he said.

The new James will be the third largest cancer hospital in the nation, consisting of 21 floors, 14 operating rooms and 306 impatient beds, according to the hospital’s website.

“This was all Dr. James’ vision,” Goldberg said. “He went and did his training at (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) in New York and he called and said, ‘Columbus needs a hospital like that.’ It took him about 20 years to get people to believe in his idea. This new hospital never would have been here if it hadn’t been for him.”

The planning process for the new hospital started about 10 years ago, Goldberg said.

Each floor is dedicated to a different kind of cancer care program based on the type of cancer a patient has. The James has specialized doctors, nurses and physical physicians on staff, Goldberg said.

“One of the advantages of our system is that we put our heads together when we deal with the patients,” he said. “So you’re not getting the opinion of just one doctor, but the collective opinion of a whole team of experts.”

The James is equipped with 66 automated guided vehicles, priced at $80,000 a piece, automated transported system manager Tom Schubert said.

“We have the largest system in the United States,” he said.

These vehicles pick up and drop off a wide variety of carts, ranging from trash bins to surgical cases, Schubert added. They navigate through the hospital using laser guidance and wireless communications technology, he said.

As for the operating rooms, each is fully equipped to perform robotic surgery, nurse manager Dianna Morock said.

“We now have the ability to stream surgery live, making it possible to send images to pathology,” Morock said.

The physical structure of the Medical Center makes collaboration between specialized teams more accessible, Goldberg said.

“It’s a great healing environment with the lights and the great views,” he said.

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