Outdated facilities give rise to a whole
new look for East Baltimore
Jim Kaufman, the Health System’s director of government relations,
is trying to interest the state of Maryland in investing in Hopkins
Hospital’s two new clinical buildings. He occasionally takes legislators
and budget staff on hospital tours. First, he wows them with Weinberg.
Then, he introduces them to Hopkins’ preeminent program in cardiovascular
A physician hopes the antique elevator
in Pathology will take him where he wants to go. Sometimes you have
to jump up and down to get it started.
Just making it up to the sixth floor on Blalock’s antiquated
elevator is a trick in itself. Once there, after a long, slow ride,
the entourage checks out some ORs, recovery rooms and labs. Blalock
opened in 1953. Its cramped quarters are a far cry from Weinberg’s
well-lit, wide-open spaces.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital includes 25 buildings that house patient-care
functions and administration, including 921 adult and pediatric acute
and critical care beds. More than 50 percent of the beds are in buildings
constructed before 1963. The largest complement of inpatient beds—192
in all—can be found in Halsted-Osler, which opened in 1930. Most
of the rooms are semiprivate. The medical and surgical intensive care
units are half the recommended size and provide only 60 percent of the
recommended head-wall space for patient support and monitoring equipment.
But the myriad challenges posed by JHH’s outdated facilities
can be best summed up in one word: Carnegie. Opened in 1927, Carnegie
contains clinics, labs and 10 general ORs, which are too small to accommodate
the staff and equipment required to perform today’s operations.
In Carnegie, when an elevator breaks down, parts are no longer available.
They must be built from scratch at a cost of thousands. And yet, the
hospital’s Blood Bank, arguably one of the nation’s busiest,
operates out of Carnegie’s sixth floor. And the Moore Clinic,
centerpiece of the largest HIV care program in Maryland, serves several
hundred patients each week on its third floor.
Corridors in Carnegie have that distinctly
Inside buildings like Carnegie, Halsted-Osler and Blalock is some
of the world’s most modern patient-care technology, not to mention
the very finest patient care. Much like an aged dowager in all her faded
glory, propped up with a few stunning jewels and a little work done
here and there, these buildings are marginally presentable on the outside
and seriously deteriorating on the inside.
—Anne Bennett Swingle