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Dome - Before the move

Dome May 2012

Before the move

Date: May 30, 2012

In the late afternoon on the eve of the move, a new patient room awaits its occupants. A final clean sweep by Environmental Service’s Jordan Fields in the Bloomberg Children’s 
Center. The nerve center for the two-day patient move tracked all activities with military precision. Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, gets an update 
from the command center team. Clinicians take a moment to confer in the command center doorway. JoAnn Ioannou, the hospital’s assistant director of nursing, awaits the go-ahead to transport a patient. In brief respite, nurses sign each other’s vests as mementos of the day.

Beautiful machines

Endoscopy senior technologist Dale Palm is feeling a little depressed as he wraps up his work in Blalock. “I’ve been here for 17 years and fell in love with all of these beautiful machines,” he says of the medical devices he maintains. Some, including the fixed fluoroscopy X-ray machine, preceded his arrival.

“For a long time, this equipment has helped to save a lot of lives,” Palm says. “But there comes a day when you have to move forward.”

Blood line

On Carnegie 6, the blood bank’s lifesaving bucket brigade never stops.

Standing on a stool, pathology lab supervisor Sandra Thoman reaches into a freezer for units of frozen plasma, hands them to lab supervisor Christi Marshall and Jennifer Nelson, who is the tissue and bone coordinator. They pack the white, rectangular boxes with plenty of dry ice in two huge Styrofoam coolers on a cart and a smaller cooler affectionately dubbed a “wheelie.” Once again, they’re bound for the gleaming new blood bank on Zayed 3 with precious cargo.

This is no job for furniture movers. Loaded with 80 to 100 units of plasma, the caravan of technologists travels at a good clip to the hospital basement, through Weinberg and into the new blood bank on Zayed 3. Thoman and the wheelie take the lead. As Marshall and Nelson pass, a bystander calls out, “Empathy, empathy.”

This is no job for furniture movers. Loaded with 80 to 100 units of plasma, the caravan of technologists travels at a good clip to the hospital basement, through Weinberg and into the new blood bank on Zayed 3. Thoman and the wheelie take the lead. As Marshall and Nelson pass, a bystander calls out, “Empathy, empathy.”

She must have seen them pass this way before. Says Nelson: “This is one of hundreds of trips back and forth, back and forth that we’ve made for weeks now.” 


Move Day Preparation

Countless Executive Meetings
171 Weekly Planning Meetings
43 Monthly Operations Briefings
4 Years of Planning
2 Mock Moves
2 Dress Rehearsals


Delivered in memories

Babies don’t stop arriving just because Osler 3 soon will be history. With that in mind, labor and delivery nurse Mary Evans tends to her unit even as she readies for the move to the Bloomberg Children’s Center. Guarding an infant warmer, IV poles and other devices to make sure they aren’t transferred too soon from Osler 3, she observes, “We still have babies here, including one who had to go to the old NICU.”

Evans  won’t miss racing between floors to get premature infants to their moms for nursing and back into their Isolettes in the allotted 30 minutes. Still, she cherishes the years in Osler. Altogether, Evans has worked more than 43 years in obstetrics, 23 at Hopkins. “I’ve delivered thousands of babies. Now I’m delivering their children. It’s that circle of life.”  

Amanda Gonzalez gave birth to Cruz, Osler’s last baby. Three hours later, mother and son were moved to the new maternity ward’s luxurious quarters. In an interview with the media, Gonzalez exclaimed, “We have the best of both worlds!”

Taking the past to the future

At a loss for an artifact that would carry the memory of Blalock 569 to Zayed 4, Sue Phillip, administrative director of echo programs, and her staff happened to discover among old papers a notebook with the words “Let us talk” on the cover.  

“We opened it and started laughing,” Phillip says. Containing entries dating from Jan. 27, 1994, to June 6, 1995, the notebook served as the department’s central source of communication at the time. A mere 18 years ago, “this is the way communication took place,” she says.

The ledger bristles with warnings against eating in the lab and reminders to change bed sheets at least three times a week. Instead of the Internet, the department relied on the notebook for announcements.

Phillip carried the notebook to her department’s gleaming, state-of-the art workplace. “We want to preserve a piece of the old,” she says.

Miles to walk

Since she transferred to the Zayed and Bloomberg towers last August as part of an experienced Environmental Services team, floor care tech Tina Wallace has learned her way around the sprawling complex while scrubbing miles and miles of floors.

Not only has she kept the floors in sparkling condition, “I’m  helping a lot of people who are coming from the old building and have really been lost,” says Wallace, who has worked at Hopkins Hospital for 15 years.

As construction, engineering and paint crews continue to come and go, leaving dust and debris in their wake, Wallace has had to scour the floors in the same rooms repeatedly. Although frustrating, retracing her steps has paid off not just for future patients, but for Wallace herself. Since coming to the new clinical buildings, “I’ve lost about 10 pounds walking back and forth. I feel lighter, and my clothes are looser.”

Your parking space has arrived

Less than a week before opening day, only a brief “to-do list” stands between Neil Marshall and the completion of a high-tech parking guidance system in the Orleans Street Garage, from where patients and visitors can cross one of two bridges to the new clinical towers. They’ll no longer have to “drive around for 30 minutes” in search of a space, says Marshall, director of parking and transportation services. Now, a tiny green light triggered by an electronic sensor signals an open space. A red light means “keep driving.” Blue lights show available parking for people with disabilities.

The smart-parking system, similar to those increasingly found in airport parking garages, is “my department’s contribution to family- and patient-centered care,” says Marshall, referring to the institutional goals embodied by the design of the shimmering medical towers.

Before opening day, Marshall and his team made sure that the lights installed above each of the garage’s 2,002 spaces are connected to the department’s computer system, which can be remotely monitored.

But his staff won’t be changing light bulbs anytime soon, Marshall says. “They’re supposed to last at least 10 years.”

Crash carts for life

Day to day, Linda Smith’s mental spread sheet is crammed with a hundreds of lifesaving devices, serial numbers and expiration dates that can change daily. Each detail matters, says the safety coordinator for Hopkins Hospital’s materials management department. “I’m responsible for someone’s life. That’s why I want to make it right.”

With preparations for moving into the new patient towers, Smith’s responsibilities have multiplied. She’ stocking 28 new carts for the Bloomberg Children’s Center, 20 to 25 new carts for the Zayed Tower, and refitting older pediatric carts to serve as adult carts.

Although the task compounds Smith’s workload, this is as good a time as any to distribute the new needles that speed treatment during cardiorespiratory arrest and are now required on each crash cart, says faculty member Brad Winters, who often works with her as co-chair of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation committee. “Since the philosophy of moving to the new clinical buildings is not to bring failed or flawed practices to the new building, we took this opportunity to bring our vascular practice in line with prescribed guidelines.” 

Winters has high praise for Smith and her co-workers: “The materials department should receive kudos for absorbing everything we and others have been piling upon them.”


3,700 Staff members participated in the move
4,327 Sandwiches were eaten during move
8 mins. 56 secs. Average Move Time
34 mins. Longest Move Time
3 mins. Shortest Move Time

Articles in this Issue

Cover Story

Leadership Speaks

Before the Move

The Move

After the Move