With Chicago coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen many stories about how the city’s medical professionals and institutions are fighting the threat head-on. One of those places on the front lines is Rush University Medical Center.
After weeks of preparation, Rush went into “surge mode” almost a month ago. Its hospital tower, perched on the edge of the Eisenhower Expressway, was the first in the city designed for disease outbreaks.
- It has 40 negative-pressure rooms, which means the air from patient rooms doesn’t vent into the hallways when the doors are open.
- Emergency room patients are isolated with walls and doors, not just curtains.
- Portions of the emergency room can be isolated from the others, with individual air systems.
- Patients arriving by ambulance can be isolated right in the ambulance bay.
- In just two hours, an entire wing of the hospital can be turned into a giant isolation ward.
- The entire first floor of the hospital was designed to handle a mass casualty event.
Most people only experience a hospital as a blur of bright lights and anxiety, but we were lucky enough to walk through the hospital in December 2011, just before it opened. Here’s what we saw.