A line of ambulances moving through the streets of St. Paul is like bait to old newspeople. It worked this afternoon, when an elderly one sprinted several blocks to witness the unfolding disaster that turned out not to be a disaster at all.
It was a parade to mark the opening of United Hospital’s new emergency room. The new facility triples the size of the old one, doubles the number of beds and increases the annual capacity of patients from 44,000 to 58,000, according to the hospital’s news release.
If you’ve ever been to United’s old ER, you might well have experienced the pain of having to be wheeled to the other side of the hospital — often through the middle of the hospital lobby — to get to x-rays, ultrasound or CT scans. Those days are over. The equipment will now be available in the ER.
The new facility cost $25 million. It’s named for Peter J. King, a member of the planning group for the ER. He died a month ago.