BALTIMORE (AP) — One of the state’s busiest hospitals marks a major milestone to relieve overcrowding. A multi-million dollar addition to the University of Maryland Medical Center is still months away.

But as Gigi Barnett explains, every phase of the project is celebrated.

The University of Maryland Medical Center — home of Shock Trauma — is bursting at the seams.

“Right now it’s tight on a day-to-day basis. Some days we have enough beds to meet the need but many, many days we’re completely full,” said Dr. Andrew Pollak, Shock Trauma Assoc. Director.

The solution is to have a new building with more space. Every part of the construction is closely watched.

With a tree and flag, the hospital marked the topping off of the building Thursday.

The new roof will expand the landing area for medical helicopters, allowing victims to arrive quickly.

“Time is the whole point of this system, to save time,” said TFC. Don Pickle, Maryland State Police.

Pilot Stephen Miller and paramedic Pickle fly to Shock Trauma several times a day.

Victims won’t notice the improvements, but they will.

“It’s just going to be a lot nicer to have a larger helipad to go to. This one is going to be bigger to handle heavier aircraft,” said Miller, Maryland State Trooper.

The new addition will have 140,000 extra square feet of space, 10 operating rooms and 64 extra critical care beds.

“With those new beds, we’ll be able to never say no. To always say yes to patients who need our services here, that’s our goal,” said Pollak.

The new addition opens in January 2013.

The new addition will also have a state-of-the-art training institute to teach other health care workers. It costs more than $160 million.


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