Thomas to nearly double the number of intensive care unit beds

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Patients and residents of the Charleston area will benefit from a nearly two-fold increase in the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds that Thomas Memorial Hospital will make as part of a broader, comprehensive plan to expand access and services at its campus.

Thomas, an affiliate of WVU Medicine, will also expand its ICU step down unit. The projects come at a time when there is a significant need in the region for more critical care beds, as local hospital ICUs are full, and patients are having to leave the area to receive critical care.

“When we increase the number of ICU beds, we are really expanding our ability to care for the most critically ill and fragile patients across the region,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., interim president and CEO of the Thomas Health System and president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “The need for this added capacity at Thomas is significant in our community, and by expanding the infrastructure of our ICU and ICU step-down units – the people, programs, and equipment – we can keep more of these very sick and very frail patients closer to their homes.”

The two projects will require Thomas to hire more doctors, nurses, intensivists, and other medical providers trained in critical care and other medical specialties and sub-specialties. The projects will also require a major renovation of existing hospital space. “This is much more than buying beds and putting them in our existing ICU; this is a transformational moment for our Health System and its ability to care for medically complex patients who require highly sophisticated care to sustain them while they recover from complex surgeries, significant illnesses, or severe injuries,” Matthew Upton, M.D., chief medical officer and chief medical information officer of Thomas Health System, said.

“This is the right thing to do for our patients and the community and will fill a gap in care that currently exists.” The current number of ICU beds at Thomas Memorial is 16; the Health System plans to increase that number to 27. The ICU expansion will be completed first followed by the ICU stepdown project with an estimated completion by second quarter of 2023 and first quarter of 2024, respectively.


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